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Title: The Works of Lord Byron
       Poetry, Volume V.

Author: Lord Byron

Editor: Ernest Hartley Coleridge

Release Date: November 14, 2007 [EBook #23475]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, David Cortesi and the Online
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This etext is a Latin-1 file. The original work contained a few phrases
or lines of Greek text. These are represented here as Beta-code
transliterations, for example [Greek: tragos]. The original text used a
few other characters not found in the Latin-1 character set. These have
been represented using bracket notation, as follows: [)a], [)e], [)s]
and [)z] represent letters with a breve (curved line) above; [=a] and
[=u] represent letters with a macron (straight line) above. In a few
places, a single superscript is shown by a caret, and two superscript
letters by carets, as in J^n 10^th^.

An important feature of this edition is its copious footnotes. Footnotes
indexed with arabic numbers (as [17], [221]) are informational. Note
text in square brackets is the work of editor E. H. Coleridge.
Unbracketed note text is from earlier editions and is by a preceding
editor or Byron himself. Footnotes indexed with letters (as [c], [bf])
document variant forms of the text from manuscripts and other sources.

In the original, footnotes are printed at the foot of the page on which
they are referenced, and their indices start over on each page. Here,
footnotes are collected at the ends of each play or poem, and are
numbered consecutively throughout. Within the blocks of footnotes are
numbers in braces: {321}. These represent the page number on which
following notes originally appeared. To find a note that was originally
printed on page 27, search for {27}.

                                The Works


                               LORD BYRON.

                           WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.

                             Poetry. Vol. V.

                                EDITED BY
                     ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE, M.A.,
                              HON. F.R.S.L.

                      JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
                    NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.

                       PREFACE TO THE FIFTH VOLUME.

The plays and poems contained in this volume were written within the
space of two years--the last two years of Byron's career as a poet. But
that was not all. Cantos VI.-XV. of _Don Juan_, _The Vision of
Judgment_, _The Blues_, _The Irish Avatar_, and other minor poems,
belong to the same period. The end was near, and, as though he had
received a warning, he hastened to make the roll complete.

Proof is impossible, but the impression remains that the greater part of
this volume has been passed over and left unread by at least two
generations of readers. Old play-goers recall Macready as "Werner," and
many persons have read _Cain_; but apart from students of literature,
readers of _Sardanapalus_ and of _The Two Foscari_ are rare; of _The Age
of Bronze_ and _The Island_ rarer still. A few of Byron's later poems
have shared the fate of Southey's epics; and, yet, with something of
Southey's persistence, Byron believed that posterity would weigh his
"regular dramas" in a fresh balance, and that his heedless critics
would kick the beam. But "can these bones live"? Can dramas which
excited the wondering admiration of Goethe and Lamartine and Sir Walter
Scott touch or lay hold of the more adventurous reader of the present
day? It is certain that even the half-forgotten works of a great and
still popular poet, which have left their mark on the creative
imagination of the poets and playwrights of three quarters of a century,
will always be studied by the few from motives of curiosity, or for
purposes of reference; but it is improbable, though not impossible, that
in the revolution of taste and sentiment, moribund or extinct poetry
will be born again into the land of the living. Poetry which has never
had its day, such as Blake's _Songs of Innocence_, the _Lyrical
Ballads_, or Fitzgerald's _Omar Khayyam_, may come, in due time, to be
recognized at its full worth; but it is a harder matter for a poem which
has lost its vogue to recapture the interest and enthusiasm of the many.

Byron is only an instance in point. Bygone poetry has little or no
attraction for modern readers. This poem or that drama may be referred
to, and occasionally examined in the interests of general culture, or in
support of a particular belief or line of conduct, as a classical or
quasi-scriptural authority; but, with the rarest exceptions, plays and
narrative poems are not read spontaneously or with any genuine
satisfaction or delight. An old-world poem which will not yield up its
secret to the idle _reader_ "of an empty day" is more or less "rudely
dismissed," without even a show of favour or hospitality.

And yet these forgotten works of the imagination are full of hidden
treasures! There is not one of Byron's "impressionist studies" of
striking episodes of history or historical legend, flung, as it were,
with a "Take it or leave it" in the face of friend or foe, which does
not transform names and shadows into persons and substance, which does
not contain lines and passages of unquestionable beauty and distinction.

But some would have it that Byron's plays, as a whole, are dull and
uninspiring, monotonous harpings on worn-out themes, which every one has
mastered or wishes to forget. A close study of the text, together with
some knowledge of the subject as it presented itself to the author and
arrested _his_ attention, may compel these impatient critics to a
different conclusion. Byron did not scruple to refer the reader to his
"sources," and was at pains to publish, in the notes and appendices to
his dramas and poems, long extracts from old chronicles, from Plutarch's
_Lives_, from French and Italian histories, which he had read himself,
and, as he fondly believed, would be read by others, who were willing to
submit themselves to his guidance. He expected his readers to take some
trouble and to display some intelligence.

Poetry is successful only so far as it is intelligible. To a clear cry
an answer comes, but not to a muffled call. The reader who comes within
speaking distance of his author can hear him, and to bring the living
within speaking distance of the dead, the living must know the facts,
and understand the ideas which informed and inspired the dead. Thought
and attention are scarcely to be reckoned among necromantic arts, but
thought and knowledge "can make these bones live," and stand upon their
feet, if they do not leap and sing.

I desire to renew my acknowledgments of the generous assistance of the
officials of the British Museum, and, more especially, of Mr. Ernest
Wallis Budge, Litt.D., M.A., _Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian
Antiquities_; of Mr. Leonard W. King, M.A., of the same department; and
of Mr. George F. Barwick, _Superintendent of the Reading Room_.

To Dr. Garnett, C.B., I am greatly indebted for invaluable hints and
suggestions with regard to the interpretation of some obscure passages
in _The Age of Bronze_ and other parts of the volume, and for reading
the proofs of the "Introduction" and "Note to the Introduction to

I have also to acknowledge the assistance and advice of Mr. W. Hale
White, and of my friend Mr. Frank E. Taylor, of Chertsey.

For assistance during the preparation of the volume, and more especially
in the revision of proofs, I desire to express my cordial thanks to Mr.
John Murray.


_December_ 3, 1901.

                            CONTENTS OF VOL. V

Preface to Vol. V. of the Poems                                          v


Introduction to _Sardanapalus_                                           3
Dedication                                                               7
Preface                                                                  9
_Sardanapalus_                                                          13


Introduction to _The Two Foscari_                                      115
_The Two Foscari_                                                      121


Introduction to _Cain_                                                 199
Dedication                                                             205
Preface                                                                207
_Cain_                                                                 213


Introduction to _Heaven and Earth_                                     279
_Heaven and Earth_                                                     285


Introduction to _Werner_                                               325
Note to the Introduction to _Werner_                                   329
Dedication                                                             335
Preface                                                                337
_Werner_                                                               341
_Werner_. [First Draft.]                                               453


Introduction to _The Deformed Transformed_                             469
Advertisement                                                          473
_The Deformed Transformed_                                             477
Fragment of the Third Part of _The Deformed Transformed_               531


Introduction to _The Age of Bronze_                                    537
_The Age of Bronze_                                                    541


Introduction to _The Island_                                           581
Advertisement                                                          585
_The Island_. Canto the First                                          587
Canto the Second                                                       598
Canto the Third                                                        618
Canto the Fourth                                                       626

                          LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

   IN THE POSSESSION OF MR. PERCY KENT                      _Frontispiece_


3. THE LION OF S. MARK'S                                               138

VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM                                             282

BY VALENTINE GREEN, AFTER SIR J. REYNOLDS, P.R.A.                      330



                                A TRAGEDY.

[_Sardanapale, Tragedie Imitee de Lord Byron_, par L. Alvin, was
performed at the Theatre Royal at Brussels, January 13, 16, 1834.

_Sardanapalus_, a Tragedy, was played for the first time at Drury Lane
Theatre, April 10, 1834, and (for the twenty-second time) June 5, 1834.
Macready appeared as "Sardanapalus," Miss Phillips as "Zarina," and Miss
Ellen Tree as "Myrrha." [In his diary for April 11, 1834 (see
_Reminiscences_, 1875, i. 414, 415) Macready wrote, "On arriving at my
chambers ... I found a letter without a signature; the seal was the head
of Byron, and in the envelope was a folded sheet with merely the words,
'Werner, Nov., 1830. Byron, Ravenna, 1821,' and 'Sardanapalus, April
10th, 1834.' Encircling the name of Byron, etc., was a lock of grey hair
fastened by a gold thread, which I am sure was Byron's, ... it surprised
and pleased me."]

_Sardanapalus, King of Assyria_, was produced at the Princess's Theatre,
June 13, 1853, and played till September 2, 1853. Charles Kean appeared
as "Sardanapalus," Miss Heath as "Zarina," and Mrs. Charles Kean as

_Sardanapale, Opera en Trois Actes_, par M. Henry Becque, Musique de M.
Victorin Joncieres, was performed for the first time at the Theatre
Imperial-Lyrique, February 8, 1867.

_Lord Byron's Tragedy of Sardanapalus_, in four acts, was performed at
the Theatre Royal, Manchester, March 31-April 28, 1877. Charles Calvert
(the adapter) played "Sardanapalus," Miss Hathaway "Zarina," and Miss
Fanny Ensor "Myrrha;" and June 26-July 27, 1877, at the Royal Alexandra
Theatre, Liverpool. Calvert's adaptation was also performed at Booth's
Theatre, New York.]

                      INTRODUCTION TO _SARDANAPALUS_

Byron's passion or infatuation for the regular drama lasted a little
over a year. _Marino Faliero_, _Sardanapalus_, and the _Two Foscari_,
were the fruits of his "self-denying ordinance to dramatize, like the
Greeks ... striking passages of history" (letter to Murray, July 14,
1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 323). The mood was destined to pass, but for a
while the neophyte was spell-bound.

_Sardanapalus, a Tragedy_, the second and, perhaps, the most successful
of these studies in the poetry of history, was begun at Ravenna, January
13, 1821, "with all deliberate speed;" but, for a time, from laziness or
depression of spirits, or, perhaps, from the counter-excitement of "the
poetry of politics" (_Letters_, 1901, v. 205), that is, the
revolutionary drama which had begun to run its course, a month went by
before he had finished the first act (February 15). Three months later
(May 28) he announces the completion of the drama, the last act having
been "dashed off" in two or three days (_Letters_, 1901, v. 300).

For the story of Sardanapalus, which had excited his interest as a
schoolboy, Byron consulted the pages of Diodorus Siculus (_Bibliothecae
Historicae_, lib. ii. pp. 78, sq., ed. 1604), and, possibly to ward off
and neutralize the distracting influence of Shakespeare and other
barbarian dramatists, he "turned over" the tragedies of Seneca
(_Letters_, 1901, v. 173). It is hardly necessary to remind the modern
reader that the Sardanapalus of history is an unverified if not an
unverifiable personage. Diodorus the Sicilian, who was contemporary with
Cicero, derived his knowledge of Assyrian history from the _Persica_ of
Ctesias of Cnidos, who was private physician at the court of Artaxerxes
Mnemon (B.C. 405-359), and is said to have had access to, and to have
consulted, the "Persian authorities" ([Greek: diphthe/rai Basilikai\]).

The character which Ctesias depicted or invented, an effeminate
debauchee, sunk in luxury and sloth, who at the last was driven to take
up arms, and, after a prolonged but ineffectual resistance, avoided
capture by suicide, cannot be identified. Asurbanipal
(A[)s]ur-b[=a]ni-apli), the son of Esarhaddon and grandson of
Sennacherib, who ascended the throne B.C. 668, and reigned for about
forty years, was, as the cuneiform records and the friezes of his palace
testify, a bold hunter and a mighty warrior. He vanquished Tark[=u]
(Tirhakah) of Ethiopia, and his successor, Urdaman[=e]. Ba'al King of
Tyre, Yakinl[=u] King of the island-city of Arvad, Sand[)a]sarm[=u] of
Cilicia, Teumman of Elam, and other potentates, suffered defeat at his
hands. "The land of Elam," writes the king or his "Historiographer
Royal," "through its extent I covered as when a mighty storm approaches;
I cut off the head of Teumman, their king... Beyond number I slew his
warriors; alive in my hands I took his fighting men; with their corpses,
as with thorns and thistles, I filled the vicinity of Susa; their blood
I caused to flow in the Eulaeus, and I stained its waters like wool."
Clearly the Sardanapalus who painted his face and carded purple wool in
the _penetralia_ of his seraglio does not bear even a traditional
resemblance to A[)s]ur-b[=a]ni-apli the Conqueror.

All that can be affirmed with any certainty is that within twenty years
of the death of Asurbanipal, the Assyrian Empire passed into the hands
of the Medes;[1] but there is nothing to show whether the period of
decay had already set in before the close of his reign, or under which
of his two successors, [)A]sur-etil-il[=a]ni or Sin-[)s]ar-i[)s]kun,
the final catastrophe (B.C. 606) took place (_Encyclopedia Biblica_,
art. "Assyria," art. "[)A]sur-bani-pal," by Leonard W. King).

"I have made," writes Byron (May 25, 1821), "Sardanapalus brave though
voluptuous (as history represents him), and as amiable as my poor pen
could make him." Diodorus, or rather Ctesias, who may have drawn upon
personal reminiscences of his patron, Artaxerxes Mnemon (see Plutarch's
_Artaxerxes_, _passim_), does not enlarge upon his amiability, and
credits him only with the courage of despair. Byron's Sardanapalus, with
his sudden transition from voluptuous abandonment to heroic chivalry,
his remorseful recognition of the sanctities of wedlock, his general
good nature, his "sly, insinuating sarcasms" (Moore's Diary, September
30, 1821, _Memoirs_, iii. 282), "all made out of the carver's brain,"
resembles _history_ as little as _history_ resembles the Assyrian
record. Fortunately, the genius of the poet escaped from the meshes
which he had woven round himself, and, in spite of himself, he was
constrained to "beat his music out," regardless of his authorities.

The character of Myrrha, which bears some resemblance to Aspasia, "a
native of Phocea in Ionia--the favourite mistress of Cyrus" (see
Plutarch's _Artaxerxes_, Langhorne's Translation, 1838, p. 699), was
introduced partly to pacify the Countess Guiccioli, who had quarrelled
with him for maintaining that "love was not the loftiest theme for true
tragedy," and, in part, to prove that he was not a slave to his own
ideals, and could imagine and delineate a woman who was both passionate
and high-minded. Diodorus (_Bibl. Hist._, lib. iii. p. 130) records the
exploits of Myrina, Queen of the Amazons, but it is probable that Byron
named his Ionian slave after Mirra, who gives her name to Alfieri's
tragedy, which brought on a convulsive fit of tears and shuddering when
he first saw it played at Bologna in August, 1819 (_Letters_, 1900, iv.

_Sardanapalus, a Tragedy_, was published together with _The Two Foscari,
a Tragedy_, and _Cain, a Mystery_, December 19, 1821.

The three plays were reviewed by Heber in the _Quarterly Review_, July,
1822, vol. xxvii. pp. 476-524; by Jeffrey in the _Edinburgh Review_,
February, 1822, vol. 36, pp. 413-452; in _Blackwood's Edinburgh
Magazine_, February, 1822, vol. xi. pp. 212-217; and in the _Portfolio_
(Philadelphia), December, 1822, vol. xiv. pp. 487-492.


                          THE ILLUSTRIOUS GOETHE

                                A STRANGER
                       PRESUMES TO OFFER THE HOMAGE
                      THE FIRST OF EXISTING WRITERS,
                             WHO HAS CREATED
                     AND ILLUSTRATED THAT OF EUROPE.
                         THE UNWORTHY PRODUCTION
                               IS ENTITLED



In publishing the following Tragedies[3] I have only to repeat, that
they were not composed with the most remote view to the stage. On the
attempt made by the managers in a former instance, the public opinion
has been already expressed. With regard to my own private feelings, as
it seems that they are to stand for nothing, I shall say nothing.

For the historical foundation of the following compositions the reader
is referred to the Notes.

The Author has in one instance attempted to preserve, and in the other
to approach, the "unities;" conceiving that with any very distant
departure from them, there may be poetry, but can be no drama. He is
aware of the unpopularity of this notion in present English literature;
but it is not a system of his own, being merely an opinion, which, not
very long ago, was the law of literature throughout the world, and is
still so in the more civilised parts of it. But "nous avons change tout
cela," and are reaping the advantages of the change. The writer is far
from conceiving that any thing he can adduce by personal precept or
example can at all approach his regular, or even irregular predecessors:
he is merely giving a reason why he preferred the more regular formation
of a structure, however feeble, to an entire abandonment of all rules
whatsoever. Where he has failed, the failure is in the architect,--and
not in the art.

In this tragedy it has been my intention to follow the account of
Diodorus Siculus;[4] reducing it, however, to such dramatic regularity
as I best could, and trying to approach the unities. I therefore suppose
the rebellion to explode and succeed in one day by a sudden conspiracy,
instead of the long war of the history.

                             DRAMATIS PERSONAE


    SARDANAPALUS, _king of Nineveh and Assyria, etc._

    ARBACES, _the Mede who aspired to the Throne_.

    BELESES, _a Chaldean and Soothsayer_.

    SALEMENES, _the King's Brother-in-Law_.

    ALTADA, _an Assyrian Officer of the Palace_.






    ZARINA, _the Queen_.

    MYRRHA, _an Ionian female Slave, and the Favourite Mistress
            of_ SARDANAPALUS.

          _Women composing the Harem of_ SARDANAPALUS, _Guards,
             Attendants, Chaldean Priests, Medes, etc., etc._

              SCENE.--A Hall in the Royal Palace of Nineveh.


                                  ACT I.

                    SCENE I.--_A Hall in the Palace_.

    _Salemenes_ (_solus_).
    He hath wronged his queen, but still he is her lord;
    He hath wronged my sister--still he is my brother;
    He hath wronged his people--still he is their sovereign--
    And I must be his friend as well as subject:
    He must not perish thus. I will not see
    The blood of Nimrod and Semiramis
    Sink in the earth, and thirteen hundred years
    Of Empire ending like a shepherd's tale;
    He must be roused. In his effeminate heart
    There is a careless courage which Corruption                        10
    Has not all quenched, and latent energies,
    Repressed by circumstance, but not destroyed--
    Steeped, but not drowned, in deep voluptuousness.
    If born a peasant, he had been a man
    To have reached an empire: to an empire born,
    He will bequeath none; nothing but a name,
    Which his sons will not prize in heritage:--
    Yet--not all lost--even yet--he may redeem
    His sloth and shame, by only being that
    Which he should be, as easily as the thing                          20
    He should not be and is. Were it less toil
    To sway his nations than consume his life?
    To head an army than to rule a harem?
    He sweats in palling pleasures, dulls his soul,[a]
    And saps his goodly strength, in toils which yield not
    Health like the chase, nor glory like the war--
    He must be roused. Alas! there is no sound
                                 [_Sound of soft music heard from within_.
    To rouse him short of thunder. Hark! the lute--
    The lyre--the timbrel; the lascivious tinklings
    Of lulling instruments, the softening voices                        30
    Of women, and of beings less than women,
    Must chime in to the echo of his revel,
    While the great King of all we know of earth
    Lolls crowned with roses, and his diadem
    Lies negligently by to be caught up
    By the first manly hand which dares to snatch it.
    Lo, where they come! already I perceive
    The reeking odours of the perfumed trains,
    And see the bright gems of the glittering girls,[b]
    At once his Chorus and his Council, flash                           40
    Along the gallery, and amidst the damsels,
    As femininely garbed, and scarce less female,
    The grandson of Semiramis, the Man-Queen.--
    He comes! Shall I await him? yes, and front him,
    And tell him what all good men tell each other,
    Speaking of him and his. They come, the slaves
    Led by the monarch subject to his slaves.

                                SCENE II.

           _Enter_ SARDANAPALUS _effeminately dressed, his Head
         crowned with Flowers, and his Robe negligently flowing,
             attended by a Train of Women and young Slaves_.

    _Sar._ (_speaking to some of his attendants_).
    Let the pavilion[6] over the Euphrates
    Be garlanded, and lit, and furnished forth
    For an especial banquet; at the hour
    Of midnight we will sup there: see nought wanting,
    And bid the galley be prepared. There is
    A cooling breeze which crisps the broad clear river:
    We will embark anon. Fair Nymphs, who deign
    To share the soft hours of Sardanapalus,
    We'll meet again in that the sweetest hour,
    When we shall gather like the stars above us,                       10
    And you will form a heaven as bright as theirs;
    Till then, let each be mistress of her time,
    And thou, my own Ionian Myrrha,[7] choose;
    Wilt thou along with them or me?

    _Myr._                          My Lord--

    _Sar._ My Lord!--my Life! why answerest thou so coldly?
    It is the curse of kings to be so answered.
    Rule thy own hours, thou rulest mine--say, wouldst thou
    Accompany our guests, or charm away
    The moments from me?

    _Myr._              The King's choice is mine.

    _Sar._ I pray thee say not so: my chiefest joy                      20
    Is to contribute to thine every wish.
    I do not dare to breathe my own desire,
    Lest it should clash with thine; for thou art still
    Too prompt to sacrifice thy thoughts for others.

    _Myr._ I would remain: I have no happiness
    Save in beholding thine; yet--

    _Sar._                         Yet! what YET?
    Thy own sweet will shall be the only barrier
    Which ever rises betwixt thee and me.

    _Myr._ I think the present is the wonted hour
    Of council; it were better I retire.                                30

    _Sal._ (_comes forward and says_)
    The Ionian slave says well: let her retire.

    _Sar._ Who answers? How now, brother?

    _Sal._                               The _Queen's_ brother,
    And your most faithful vassal, royal Lord.

    _Sar._ (_addressing his train_).
    As I have said, let all dispose their hours
    Till midnight, when again we pray your presence.
                                                    [_The court retiring_.
    (_To_ MYRRHA,[c] _who is going_.)
    Myrrha! I thought _thou_ wouldst remain.

    _Myr._                                  Great King,
    Thou didst not say so.

    _Sar._                 But _thou_ looked'st it:
    I know each glance of those Ionic eyes,[d]
    Which said thou wouldst not leave me.

    _Myr._                               Sire! your brother----

    _Sal._ His _Consort's_ brother, minion of Ionia!                    40
    How darest _thou_ name _me_ and not blush?

    _Sar._                                    Not blush!
    Thou hast no more eyes than heart to make her crimson
    Like to the dying day on Caucasus,
    Where sunset tints the snow with rosy shadows,
    And then reproach her with thine own cold blindness,
    Which will not see it. What! in tears, my Myrrha?

    _Sal._ Let them flow on; she weeps for more than one,
    And is herself the cause of bitterer tears.

    _Sar._ Cursed be he who caused those tears to flow!

    _Sal._ Curse not thyself--millions do that already.                 50

    _Sar._ Thou dost forget thee: make me not remember
    I am a monarch.

    _Sal._          Would thou couldst!

    _Myr._                               My sovereign,
    I pray, and thou, too, Prince, permit my absence.

    _Sar._ Since it must be so, and this churl has checked
    Thy gentle spirit, go; but recollect
    That we must forthwith meet: I had rather lose
    An empire than thy presence.                           [_Exit_ MYRRHA.

    _Sal._                       It may be,
    Thou wilt lose both--and both for ever!

    _Sar._                                  Brother!
    I can at least command myself, who listen
    To language such as this: yet urge me not                           60
    Beyond my easy nature.

    _Sal._                 'Tis beyond
    That easy--far too easy--idle nature,
    Which I would urge thee. O that I could rouse thee!
    Though 'twere against myself.

    _Sar._                        By the god Baal!
    The man would make me tyrant.

    _Sal._                        So thou art.
    Think'st thou there is no tyranny but that
    Of blood and chains? The despotism of vice,
    The weakness and the wickedness of luxury,
    The negligence, the apathy, the evils
    Of sensual sloth--produce ten thousand tyrants,                     70
    Whose delegated cruelty surpasses
    The worst acts of one energetic master,
    However harsh and hard in his own bearing.
    The false and fond examples of thy lusts
    Corrupt no less than they oppress, and sap
    In the same moment all thy pageant power
    And those who should sustain it; so that whether
    A foreign foe invade, or civil broil
    Distract within, both will alike prove fatal:
    The first thy subjects have no heart to conquer;                    80
    The last they rather would assist than vanquish.

    _Sar._ Why, what makes thee the mouth-piece of the people?

    _Sal._ Forgiveness of the Queen, my sister wrongs;
    A natural love unto my infant nephews;
    Faith to the King, a faith he may need shortly,
    In more than words; respect for Nimrod's line;
    Also, another thing thou knowest not.

    _Sar._ What's that?

    _Sal._               To thee an unknown word.

    _Sar._                                        Yet speak it;
    I love to learn.

    _Sal._           Virtue.

    _Sar._                  Not know the word!
    Never was word yet rung so in my ears--                             90
    Worse than the rabble's shout, or splitting trumpet:
    I've heard thy sister talk of nothing else.

    _Sal._ To change the irksome theme, then, hear of vice.

    _Sar._ From whom?

    _Sal._             Even from the winds, if thou couldst listen
    Unto the echoes of the Nation's voice.

    _Sar._ Come, I'm indulgent, as thou knowest, patient,
    As thou hast often proved--speak out, what moves thee?

    _Sal._ Thy peril.

    _Sar._             Say on.

    _Sal._                     Thus, then: all the nations,
    For they are many, whom thy father left
    In heritage, are loud in wrath against thee.                       100

    _Sar._ 'Gainst _me!!_ What would the slaves?

    _Sal._                                         A king.

    _Sar._                                                 And what
    Am I then?

    _Sal._     In their eyes a nothing; but
    In mine a man who might be something still.

    _Sar._ The railing drunkards! why, what would they have?
    Have they not peace and plenty?

    _Sal._                          Of the first
    More than is glorious: of the last, far less
    Than the King recks of.

    _Sar._                  Whose then is the crime,
    But the false satraps, who provide no better?

    _Sal._ And somewhat in the Monarch who ne'er looks
    Beyond his palace walls, or if he stirs                            110
    Beyond them, 'tis but to some mountain palace,
    Till summer heats wear down. O glorious Baal!
    Who built up this vast empire, and wert made
    A God, or at the least shinest like a God
    Through the long centuries of thy renown,
    This, thy presumed descendant, ne'er beheld
    As king the kingdoms thou didst leave as hero,
    Won with thy blood, and toil, and time, and peril!
    For what? to furnish imposts for a revel,
    Or multiplied extortions for a minion.                             120

    _Sar._ I understand thee--thou wouldst have me go
    Forth as a conqueror. By all the stars
    Which the Chaldeans read--the restless slaves[e]
    Deserve that I should curse them with their wishes,
    And lead them forth to glory.

    _Sal._                       Wherefore not?
    Semiramis--a woman only--led
    These our Assyrians to the solar shores
    Of Ganges.

    _Sar._    Tis most true. And _how_ returned?

    _Sal._ Why, like a _man_--a hero; baffled, but
    Not vanquished. With but twenty guards, she made                   130
    Good her retreat to Bactria.

    _Sar._                       And how many
    Left she behind in India to the vultures?

    _Sal._ Our annals say not.

    _Sar._                    Then I will say for them--
    That she had better woven within her palace
    Some twenty garments, than with twenty guards
    Have fled to Bactria, leaving to the ravens,
    And wolves, and men--the fiercer of the three,
    Her myriads of fond subjects. Is _this_ Glory?
    Then let me live in ignominy ever.

    _Sal._ All warlike spirits have not the same fate.                 140
    Semiramis, the glorious parent of
    A hundred kings, although she failed in India,
    Brought Persia--Media--Bactria--to the realm
    Which she once swayed--and thou _mightst_ sway.

    _Sar._                                         _I sway_ them--
    She but subdued them.

    _Sal._                It may be ere long
    That they will need her sword more than your sceptre.

    _Sar._ There was a certain Bacchus, was there not?
    I've heard my Greek girls speak of such--they say
    He was a God, that is, a Grecian god,
    An idol foreign to Assyria's worship,                              150
    Who conquered this same golden realm of Ind
    Thou prat'st of, where Semiramis was vanquished.

    _Sal._ I have heard of such a man; and thou perceiv'st
    That he is deemed a God for what he did.

    _Sar._ And in his godship I will honour him--
    Not much as man. What, ho! my cupbearer!

    _Sal._ What means the King?

    _Sar._                     To worship your new God
    And ancient conqueror. Some wine, I say.

                            _Enter Cupbearer_.

    _Sar._ (_addressing the Cupbearer_).
    Bring me the golden goblet thick with gems,
    Which bears the name of Nimrod's chalice. Hence,                   160
    Fill full, and bear it quickly.                     [_Exit Cupbearer_.

    _Sal._                         Is this moment
    A fitting one for the resumption of
    Thy yet unslept-off revels?

                     _Re-enter Cupbearer, with wine_.

    _Sar._ (_taking the cup from him_). Noble kinsman,
    If these barbarian Greeks of the far shores
    And skirts of these our realms lie not, this Bacchus
    Conquered the whole of India,[8] did he not?

    _Sal._ He did, and thence was deemed a Deity.[f]

    _Sar._ Not so:--of all his conquests a few columns.[9]
    Which may be his, and might be mine, if I
    Thought them worth purchase and conveyance, are                    170
    The landmarks of the seas of gore he shed,
    The realms he wasted, and the hearts he broke.
    But here--here in this goblet is his title
    To immortality--the immortal grape
    From which he first expressed the soul, and gave
    To gladden that of man, as some atonement
    For the victorious mischiefs he had done.
    Had it not been for this, he would have been
    A mortal still in name as in his grave;
    And, like my ancestor Semiramis,                                   180
    A sort of semi-glorious human monster.
    Here's that which deified him--let it now
    Humanise thee; my surly, chiding brother,
    Pledge me to the Greek God!

    _Sal._                      For all thy realms
    I would not so blaspheme our country's creed.

    _Sar._ That is to say, thou thinkest him a hero,
    That he shed blood by oceans; and no God,
    Because he turned a fruit to an enchantment,
    Which cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires
    The young, makes Weariness forget his toil,                        190
    And Fear her danger; opens a new world
    When this, the present, palls. Well, then _I_ pledge thee
    And _him_ as a true man, who did his utmost
    In good or evil to surprise mankind.                        [_Drinks_.

    _Sal._ Wilt thou resume a revel at this hour?

    _Sar._ And if I did, 'twere better than a trophy,
    Being bought without a tear. But that is not
    My present purpose: since thou wilt not pledge me,
    Continue what thou pleasest.
    (_To the Cupbearer_.)       Boy, retire.            [_Exit Cupbearer_.

    _Sal._ I would but have recalled thee from thy dream;              200
    Better by me awakened than rebellion.

    _Sar._ Who should rebel? or why? what cause? pretext?
    I am the lawful King, descended from
    A race of Kings who knew no predecessors.
    What have I done to thee, or to the people,
    That thou shouldst rail, or they rise up against me?

    _Sal._ Of what thou hast done to me, I speak not.

    _Sar._                                             But
    Thou think'st that I have wronged the Queen: is't not so?

    _Sal._ _Think!_ Thou hast wronged her!

    _Sar._                                 Patience, Prince, and hear me.
    She has all power and splendour of her station,                    210
    Respect, the tutelage of Assyria's heirs,
    The homage and the appanage of sovereignty.
    I married her as monarchs wed--for state,
    And loved her as most husbands love their wives.
    If she or thou supposedst I could link me
    Like a Chaldean peasant to his mate,
    Ye knew nor me--nor monarchs--nor mankind.

    _Sal._ I pray thee, change the theme: my blood disdains
    Complaint, and Salemenes' sister seeks not
    Reluctant love even from Assyria's lord!                           220
    Nor would she deign to accept divided passion
    With foreign strumpets and Ionian slaves.
    The Queen is silent.

    _Sar._               And why not her brother?

    _Sal._ I only echo thee the voice of empires,
    Which he who long neglects not long will govern.

    _Sar._ The ungrateful and ungracious slaves! they murmur
    Because I have not shed their blood, nor led them
    To dry into the desert's dust by myriads,
    Or whiten with their bones the banks of Ganges;
    Nor decimated them with savage laws,                               230
    Nor sweated them to build up Pyramids,
    Or Babylonian walls.

    _Sal._               Yet these are trophies
    More worthy of a people and their prince
    Than songs, and lutes, and feasts, and concubines,
    And lavished treasures, and contemned virtues.

    _Sar._ Or for my trophies I have founded cities:
    There's Tarsus and Anchialus, both built
    In one day--what could that blood-loving beldame,
    My martial grandam, chaste Semiramis,
    Do more, except destroy them?

    _Sal._                        'Tis most true;                      240
    I own thy merit in those founded cities,
    Built for a whim, recorded with a verse
    Which shames both them and thee to coming ages.

    _Sar._ Shame me! By Baal, the cities, though well built,
    Are not more goodly than the verse! Say what
    Thou wilt 'gainst me, my mode of life or rule,
    But nothing 'gainst the truth of that brief record.
    Why, those few lines contain the history
    Of all things human: hear--"Sardanapalus,
    The king, and son of Anacyndaraxes,                                250
    In one day built Anchialus and Tarsus.
    Eat, drink, and love; the rest's not worth a fillip."[10]

    _Sal._ A worthy moral, and a wise inscription,
    For a king to put up before his subjects!

    _Sar._ Oh, thou wouldst have me doubtless set up edicts--
    "Obey the king--contribute to his treasure--
    Recruit his phalanx--spill your blood at bidding--
    Fall down and worship, or get up and toil."
    Or thus--"Sardanapalus on this spot
    Slew fifty thousand of his enemies.                                260
    These are their sepulchres, and this his trophy."
    I leave such things to conquerors; enough
    For me, if I can make my subjects feel
    The weight of human misery less, and glide
    Ungroaning to the tomb: I take no license
    Which I deny to them. We all are men.

    _Sal._ Thy Sires have been revered as Gods--

    _Sar._                                        In dust
    And death, where they are neither Gods nor men.
    Talk not of such to me! the worms are Gods;[11]
    At least they banqueted upon your Gods,                            270
    And died for lack of farther nutriment.
    Those Gods were merely men; look to their issue--
    I feel a thousand mortal things about me,
    But nothing godlike,--unless it may be
    The thing which you condemn, a disposition
    To love and to be merciful, to pardon
    The follies of my species, and (that's human)
    To be indulgent to my own.

    _Sal._                    Alas!
    The doom of Nineveh is sealed.--Woe--woe
    To the unrivalled city!

    _Sar._                  What dost dread?                           280

    _Sal._ Thou art guarded by thy foes: in a few hours
    The tempest may break out which overwhelms thee,
    And thine and mine; and in another day
    What _is_ shall be the past of Belus' race.

    _Sar._ What must we dread?

    _Sal._                    Ambitious treachery,
    Which has environed thee with snares; but yet
    There is resource: empower me with thy signet
    To quell the machinations, and I lay
    The heads of thy chief foes before thy feet.

    _Sar._ The heads--how many?

    _Sal._                     Must I stay to number             290
    When even thine own's in peril? Let me go;
    Give me thy signet--trust me with the rest.

    _Sar._ I will trust no man with unlimited lives.
    When we take those from others, we nor know
    What we have taken, nor the thing we give.

    _Sal._ Wouldst thou not take their lives who seek for thine?

    _Sar._ That's a hard question--But I answer, Yes.
    Cannot the thing be done without? Who are they
    Whom thou suspectest?--Let them be arrested.

    _Sal._ I would thou wouldst not ask me; the next moment            300
    Will send my answer through thy babbling troop
    Of paramours, and thence fly o'er the palace,
    Even to the city, and so baffle all.--
    Trust me.

    _Sar._      Thou knowest I have done so ever;
    Take thou the signet.                             [_Gives the signet_.

    _Sal._                I have one more request.

    _Sar._ Name it.

    _Sal._           That thou this night forbear the banquet
    In the pavilion over the Euphrates.

    _Sar._ Forbear the banquet! Not for all the plotters
    That ever shook a kingdom! Let them come,
    And do their worst: I shall not blench for them;                   310
    Nor rise the sooner; nor forbear the goblet;
    Nor crown me with a single rose the less;
    Nor lose one joyous hour.--I fear them not.

    _Sal._ But thou wouldst arm thee, wouldst thou not, if needful?

    _Sar._ Perhaps. I have the goodliest armour, and
    A sword of such a temper, and a bow,
    And javelin, which might furnish Nimrod forth:
    A little heavy, but yet not unwieldy.
    And now I think on't, 'tis long since I've used them,
    Even in the chase. Hast ever seen them, brother?                   320

    _Sal._ Is this a time for such fantastic trifling?--
    If need be, wilt thou wear them?

    _Sar._                           Will I not?
    Oh! if it must be so, and these rash slaves
    Will not be ruled with less, I'll use the sword
    Till they shall wish it turned into a distaff.

    _Sal._ They say thy Sceptre's turned to that already.

    _Sar._ That's false! but let them say so: the old Greeks,
    Of whom our captives often sing, related
    The same of their chief hero, Hercules,
    Because he loved a Lydian queen: thou seest                        330
    The populace of all the nations seize
    Each calumny they can to sink their sovereigns.

    _Sal._ They did not speak thus of thy fathers.

    _Sar._                                         No;
    They dared not. They were kept to toil and combat;
    And never changed their chains but for their armour:
    Now they have peace and pastime, and the license
    To revel and to rail; it irks me not.
    I would not give the smile of one fair girl
    For all the popular breath[12] that e'er divided
    A name from nothing. What are the rank tongues[13]                 340
    Of this vile herd, grown insolent with feeding,
    That I should prize their noisy praise, or dread
    Their noisome clamour?

    _Sal._                 You have said they are men;
    As such their hearts are something.

    _Sar._                              So my dogs' are;
    And better, as more faithful:--but, proceed;
    Thou hast my signet:--since they are tumultuous,
    Let them be tempered, yet not roughly, till
    Necessity enforce it. I hate all pain,
    Given or received; we have enough within us,
    The meanest vassal as the loftiest monarch,                        350
    Not to add to each other's natural burthen
    Of mortal misery, but rather lessen,
    By mild reciprocal alleviation,
    The fatal penalties imposed on life:
    But this they know not, or they will not know.
    I have, by Baal! done all I could to soothe them:
    I made no wars, I added no new imposts,
    I interfered not with their civic lives,
    I let them pass their days as best might suit them,
    Passing my own as suited me.

    _Sal._                       Thou stopp'st                         360
    Short of the duties of a king; and therefore
    They say thou art unfit to be a monarch.

    _Sar._ They lie.--Unhappily, I am unfit
    To be aught save a monarch; else for me
    The meanest Mede might be the king instead.

    _Sal._ There is one Mede, at least, who seeks to be so.

    _Sar._ What mean'st thou!--'tis thy secret; thou desirest
    Few questions, and I'm not of curious nature.
    Take the fit steps; and, since necessity
    Requires, I sanction and support thee. Ne'er                       370
    Was man who more desired to rule in peace
    The peaceful only: if they rouse me, better
    They had conjured up stern Nimrod from his ashes,
    "The Mighty Hunter!" I will turn these realms
    To one wide desert chase of brutes, who _were_,
    But _would_ no more, by their own choice, be human.
    _What_ they have found me, they belie; _that which_
    They yet may find me--shall defy their wish
    To speak it worse; and let them thank themselves.

    _Sal._ Then thou at last canst feel?

    _Sar._                              Feel! who feels not            380

    _Sal._      I will not pause to answer
    With words, but deeds. Keep thou awake that energy
    Which sleeps at times, but is not dead within thee,
    And thou may'st yet be glorious in thy reign,
    As powerful in thy realm. Farewell!                 [_Exit_ SALEMENES.

    _Sar._ (_solus_).                 Farewell!
    He's gone; and on his finger bears my signet,
    Which is to him a sceptre. He is stern
    As I am heedless; and the slaves deserve
    To feel a master. What may be the danger,
    I know not: he hath found it, let him quell it.                    390
    Must I consume my life--this little life--
    In guarding against all may make it less?
    It is not worth so much! It were to die
    Before my hour, to live in dread of death,
    Tracing revolt; suspecting all about me,
    Because they are near; and all who are remote,
    Because they are far. But if it should be so--
    If they should sweep me off from Earth and Empire,
    Why, what is Earth or Empire of the Earth?
    I have loved, and lived, and multiplied my image;                  400
    To die is no less natural than those
    Acts of this clay! 'Tis true I have not shed
    Blood as I might have done, in oceans, till
    My name became the synonyme of Death--
    A terror and a trophy. But for this
    I feel no penitence; my life is love:
    If I must shed blood, it shall be by force.
    Till now, no drop from an Assyrian vein
    Hath flowed for me, nor hath the smallest coin
    Of Nineveh's vast treasures e'er been lavished                     410
    On objects which could cost her sons a tear:
    If then they hate me, 'tis because I hate not:
    If they rebel, 'tis because I oppress not.
    Oh, men! ye must be ruled with scythes, not sceptres,
    And mowed down like the grass, else all we reap
    Is rank abundance, and a rotten harvest
    Of discontents infecting the fair soil,
    Making a desert of fertility.--
    I'll think no more.--Within there, ho!

                          _Enter an_ ATTENDANT.

    _Sar._                                Slave, tell
    The Ionian Myrrha we would crave her presence.                     420

    _Attend._ King, she is here.

                             MYRRHA _enters_.

    _Sar._ (_apart to Attendant_). Away!

    (_Addressing_ MYRRHA.)              Beautiful being!
    Thou dost almost anticipate my heart;
    It throbbed for thee, and here thou comest: let me
    Deem that some unknown influence, some sweet oracle,
    Communicates between us, though unseen,
    In absence, and attracts us to each other.

    _Myr._ There doth.

    _Sar._             I know there doth, but not its name:
    What is it?

    _Myr._       In my native land a God,
    And in my heart a feeling like a God's,
    Exalted; yet I own 'tis only mortal;                               430
    For what I feel is humble, and yet happy--
    That is, it would be happy; but----                  [MYRRHA _pauses_.

    _Sar._                              There comes
    For ever something between us and what
    We deem our happiness: let me remove
    The barrier which that hesitating accent
    Proclaims to thine, and mine is sealed.

    _Myr._                                  My Lord!--

    _Sar._ My Lord--my King--Sire--Sovereign; thus it is--
    For ever thus, addressed with awe. I ne'er
    Can see a smile, unless in some broad banquet's
    Intoxicating glare, when the buffoons                              440
    Have gorged themselves up to equality,
    Or I have quaffed me down to their abasement.
    Myrrha, I can hear all these things, these names,
    Lord--King--Sire--Monarch--nay, time was I prized them;
    That is, I suffered them--from slaves and nobles;
    But when they falter from the lips I love,
    The lips which have been pressed to mine, a chill
    Comes o'er my heart, a cold sense of the falsehood
    Of this my station, which represses feeling
    In those for whom I have felt most, and makes me                   450
    Wish that I could lay down the dull tiara,
    And share a cottage on the Caucasus
    With thee--and wear no crowns but those of flowers.

    _Myr._ Would that we could!

    _Sar._                     And dost _thou_ feel this?--Why?

    _Myr._ Then thou wouldst know what thou canst never know.

    _Sar._ And that is----

    _Myr._                  The true value of a heart;
    At least, a woman's.

    _Sar._               I have proved a thousand--A
    thousand, and a thousand.

    _Myr._                   Hearts?

    _Sar._                          I think so.

    _Myr._ Not one! the time may come thou may'st.

    _Sar._                                          It will.
    Hear, Myrrha; Salemenes has declared--                             460
    Or why or how he hath divined it, Belus,
    Who founded our great realm, knows more than I--
    But Salemenes hath declared my throne
    In peril.

    _Myr._    He did well.

    _Sar._                And say'st _thou_ so?
    Thou whom he spurned so harshly, and now dared[g]
    Drive from our presence with his savage jeers,
    And made thee weep and blush?

    _Myr._                        I should do both
    More frequently, and he did well to call me
    Back to my duty. But thou spakest of peril
    Peril to thee----

    _Sar._            Aye, from dark plots and snares                  470
    From Medes--and discontented troops and nations.
    I know not what--a labyrinth of things--
    A maze of muttered threats and mysteries:
    Thou know'st the man--it is his usual custom.
    But he is honest. Come, we'll think no more on't--
    But of the midnight festival.

    _Myr._                       'Tis time
    To think of aught save festivals. Thou hast not
    Spurned his sage cautions?

    _Sar._                     What?--and dost thou fear?

    _Myr._ Fear!--I'm a Greek, and how should I fear death?
    A slave, and wherefore should I dread my freedom?                  480

    _Sar._ Then wherefore dost thou turn so pale?

    _Myr._                                         I love.

    _Sar._ And do not I? I love thee far--far more
    Than either the brief life or the wide realm,
    Which, it may be, are menaced;--yet I blench not.

    _Myr._ That means thou lovest nor thyself nor me;
    For he who loves another loves himself,
    Even for that other's sake. This is too rash:
    Kingdoms and lives are not to be so lost.

    _Sar._ Lost!--why, who is the aspiring chief who dared
    Assume to win them?

    _Myr._             Who is he should dread                          490
    To try so much? When he who is their ruler
    Forgets himself--will they remember him?

    _Sar._ Myrrha!

    _Myr._        Frown not upon me: you have smiled
    Too often on me not to make those frowns
    Bitterer to bear than any punishment
    Which they may augur.--King, I am your subject!
    Master, I am your slave! Man, I have loved you!--
    Loved you, I know not by what fatal weakness,
    Although a Greek, and born a foe to monarchs--
    A slave, and hating fetters--an Ionian,                            500
    And, therefore, when I love a stranger, more
    Degraded by that passion than by chains!
    Still I have loved you. If that love were strong
    Enough to overcome all former nature,
    Shall it not claim the privilege to save you?

    _Sar._ _Save_ me, my beauty! Thou art very fair,
    And what I seek of thee is love--not safety.

    _Myr._ And without love where dwells security?

    _Sar._ I speak of woman's love.

    _Myr._                         The very first
    Of human life must spring from woman's breast,                     510
    Your first small words are taught you from her lips,
    Your first tears quenched by her, and your last sighs
    Too often breathed out in a woman's hearing,
    When men have shrunk from the ignoble care
    Of watching the last hour of him who led them.

    _Sar._ My eloquent Ionian! thou speak'st music:
    The very chorus of the tragic song
    I have heard thee talk of as the favourite pastime
    Of thy far father-land. Nay, weep not--calm thee.

    _Myr._ I weep not.--But I pray thee, do not speak                  520
    About my fathers or their land.

    _Sar._                          Yet oft
    Thou speakest of them.

    _Myr._                 True--true: constant thought
    Will overflow in words unconsciously;
    But when another speaks of Greeks, it wounds me.

    _Sar._ Well, then, how wouldst thou _save_ me, as thou saidst?

    _Myr._ By teaching thee to save thyself, and not
    Thyself alone, but these vast realms, from all
    The rage of the worst war--the war of brethren.

    _Sar._ Why, child, I loathe all war, and warriors;
    I live in peace and pleasure: what can man                         530
    Do more?

    _Myr._       Alas! my Lord, with common men
    There needs too oft the show of war to keep
    The substance of sweet peace; and, for a king,
    'Tis sometimes better to be feared than loved.

    _Sar._ And I have never sought but for the last.

    _Myr._ And now art neither.

    _Sar._                      Dost _thou_ say so, Myrrha?

    _Myr._ I speak of civic popular love, _self_-love,
    Which means that men are kept in awe and law,
    Yet not oppressed--at least they must not think so,
    Or, if they think so, deem it necessary,                           540
    To ward off worse oppression, their own passions.
    A King of feasts, and flowers, and wine, and revel,
    And love, and mirth, was never King of Glory.

    _Sar._ Glory! what's that?

    _Myr._                     Ask of the Gods thy fathers.

    _Sar._ They cannot answer; when the priests speak for them,
    'Tis for some small addition to the temple.

    _Myr._ Look to the annals of thine Empire's founders.

    _Sar._ They are so blotted o'er with blood, I cannot.
    But what wouldst have? the Empire _has been_ founded.
    I cannot go on multiplying empires.                                550

    _Myr._ Preserve thine own.

    _Sar._                     At least, I will enjoy it.
    Come, Myrrha, let us go on to the Euphrates:
    The hour invites, the galley is prepared,
    And the pavilion, decked for our return,
    In fit adornment for the evening banquet,
    Shall blaze with beauty and with light, until
    It seems unto the stars which are above us
    Itself an opposite star; and we will sit
    Crowned with fresh flowers like----

    _Myr._                             Victims.

    _Sar._                                     No, like sovereigns,
    The Shepherd Kings of patriarchal times,                           560
    Who knew no brighter gems than summer wreaths,[h]
    And none but tearless triumphs. Let us on.

                              _Enter_ PANIA.

    _Pan._ May the King live for ever!

    _Sar._                           Not an hour
    Longer than he can love. How my soul hates
    This language, which makes life itself a lie,
    Flattering dust with eternity.[i] Well, Pania!
    Be brief.

    _Pan._      I am charged by Salemenes to
    Reiterate his prayer unto the King,
    That for this day, at least, he will not quit
    The palace: when the General returns,                              570
    He will adduce such reasons as will warrant
    His daring, and perhaps obtain the pardon
    Of his presumption.

    _Sar._               What! am I then cooped?
    Already captive? can I not even breathe
    The breath of heaven? Tell prince Salemenes,
    Were all Assyria raging round the walls
    In mutinous myriads, I would still go forth.

    _Pan._ I must obey, and yet----

    _Myr._                        Oh, Monarch, listen.--
    How many a day and moon thou hast reclined
    Within these palace walls in silken dalliance,                     580
    And never shown thee to thy people's longing;
    Leaving thy subjects' eyes ungratified,
    The satraps uncontrolled, the Gods unworshipped,
    And all things in the anarchy of sloth,
    Till all, save evil, slumbered through the realm!
    And wilt thou not now tarry for a day,--
    A day which may redeem thee? Wilt thou not
    Yield to the few still faithful a few hours,
    For them, for thee, for thy past fathers' race,
    And for thy sons' inheritance?

    _Pan._                         'Tis true!                          590
    From the deep urgency with which the Prince
    Despatched me to your sacred presence, I
    Must dare to add my feeble voice to that
    Which now has spoken.

    _Sar._               No, it must not be.

    _Myr._ For the sake of thy realm!

    _Sar._                             Away!

    _Pan._                                 For that
    Of all thy faithful subjects, who will rally
    Round thee and thine.

    _Sar._               These are mere fantasies:
    There is no peril:--'tis a sullen scheme
    Of Salemenes, to approve his zeal,
    And show himself more necessary to us.                             600

    _Myr._ By all that's good and glorious take this counsel.

    _Sar._ Business to-morrow.

    _Myr._                    Aye--or death to-night.

    _Sar._ Why let it come then unexpectedly,
    'Midst joy and gentleness, and mirth and love;
    So let me fall like the plucked rose!--far better
    Thus than be withered.

    _Myr._                 Then thou wilt not yield,
    Even for the sake of all that ever stirred
    A monarch into action, to forego
    A trifling revel.

    _Sar._            No.

    _Myr._               Then yield for _mine_;
    For my sake!

    _Sar._      Thine, my Myrrha!

    _Myr._                      'Tis the first                         610
    Boon which I ever asked Assyria's king.

    _Sar._ That's true, and, wer't my kingdom, must be granted.
    Well, for thy sake, I yield me. Pania, hence!
    Thou hear'st me.

    _Pan._           And obey.                              [_Exit_ PANIA.

    _Sar._                     I marvel at thee.
    What is thy motive, Myrrha, thus to urge me?

    _Myr._ Thy safety; and the certainty that nought
    Could urge the Prince thy kinsman to require
    Thus much from thee, but some impending danger.

    _Sar._ And if I do not dread it, why shouldst thou?

    _Myr._ Because _thou_ dost not fear, I fear for _thee_.            620

    _Sar._ To-morrow thou wilt smile at these vain fancies.

    _Myr._ If the worst come, I shall be where none weep,
    And that is better than the power to smile.
    And thou?

    _Sar._    I shall be King, as heretofore.

    _Myr._ Where?

    _Sar._         With Baal, Nimrod, and Semiramis,
    Sole in Assyria, or with them elsewhere.
    Fate made me what I am--may make me nothing--
    But either that or nothing must I be:
    I will not live degraded.

    _Myr._                    Hadst thou felt
    Thus always, none would ever dare degrade thee.                    630

    _Sar._ And who will do so now?

    _Myr._                        Dost thou suspect none?

    _Sar._ Suspect!--that's a spy's office. Oh! we lose
    Ten thousand precious moments in vain words,
    And vainer fears. Within there!--ye slaves, deck
    The Hall of Nimrod for the evening revel;
    If I must make a prison of our palace,
    At least we'll wear our fetters jocundly;
    If the Euphrates be forbid us, and
    The summer-dwelling on its beauteous border,
    Here we are still unmenaced. Ho! within there!                     640
                                                     [_Exit_ SARDANAPALUS.

    _Myr._ (_solus_).
    Why do I love this man? My country's daughters
    Love none but heroes. But I have no country!
    The slave hath lost all save her bonds. I love him;
    And that's the heaviest link of the long chain--
    To love whom we esteem not. Be it so:
    The hour is coming when he'll need all love,
    And find none. To fall from him now were baser
    Than to have stabbed him on his throne when highest
    Would have been noble in my country's creed:
    I was not made for either. Could I save him,                       650
    I should not love _him_ better, but myself;
    And I have need of the last, for I have fallen
    In my own thoughts, by loving this soft stranger:
    And yet, methinks, I love him more, perceiving
    That he is hated of his own barbarians,
    The natural foes of all the blood of Greece.
    Could I but wake a single thought like those
    Which even the Phrygians felt when battling long
    'Twixt Ilion and the sea, within his heart,
    He would tread down the barbarous crowds, and triumph.             660
    He loves me, and I love him; the slave loves
    Her master, and would free him from his vices.
    If not, I have a means of freedom still,
    And if I cannot teach him how to reign,
    May show him how alone a King can leave
    His throne. I must not lose him from my sight.                [_Exit_.

                                 ACT II.

          SCENE I.--_The Portal of the same Hall of the Palace_.

    _Beleses_ (_solus_).
    The Sun goes down: methinks he sets more slowly,
    Taking his last look of Assyria's Empire.
    How red he glares amongst those deepening clouds,
    Like the blood he predicts. If not in vain,
    Thou Sun that sinkest, and ye stars which rise,
    I have outwatched ye, reading ray by ray
    The edicts of your orbs, which make Time tremble[j]
    For what he brings the nations, 'tis the furthest
    Hour of Assyria's years. And yet how calm!
    An earthquake should announce so great a fall--                     10
    A summer's sun discloses it. Yon disk,
    To the star-read Chaldean, bears upon
    Its everlasting page the end of what
    Seemed everlasting; but oh! thou true Sun!
    The burning oracle of all that live,
    As fountain of all life, and symbol of
    Him who bestows it, wherefore dost thou limit
    Thy lore unto calamity? Why not
    Unfold the rise of days more worthy thine
    All-glorious burst from ocean? why not dart                         20
    A beam of hope athwart the future years,
    As of wrath to its days? Hear me! oh, hear me!
    I am thy worshipper, thy priest, thy servant--
    I have gazed on thee at thy rise and fall,
    And bowed my head beneath thy mid-day beams,
    When my eye dared not meet thee. I have watched
    For thee, and after thee, and prayed to thee,
    And sacrificed to thee, and read, and feared thee,
    And asked of thee, and thou hast answered--but
    Only to thus much: while I speak, he sinks--                        30
    Is gone--and leaves his beauty, not his knowledge,
    To the delighted West, which revels in
    Its hues of dying glory. Yet what is
    Death, so it be but glorious? 'Tis a sunset;
    And mortals may be happy to resemble
    The Gods but in decay.

                    _Enter_ ARBACES _by an inner door_.

    _Arb._                Beleses, why
    So wrapt in thy devotions? Dost thou stand
    Gazing to trace thy disappearing God
    Into some realm of undiscovered day?
    Our business is with night--'tis come.

    _Bel._                               But not                        40

    _Arb._    Let it roll on--we are ready.

    _Bel._                                 Yes.
    Would it were over!

    _Arb._              Does the prophet doubt,
    To whom the very stars shine Victory?

    _Bel._ I do not doubt of Victory--but the Victor.

    _Arb._ Well, let thy science settle that. Meantime
    I have prepared as many glittering spears
    As will out-sparkle our allies--your planets.
    There is no more to thwart us. The she-king,
    That less than woman, is even now upon
    The waters with his female mates. The order                         50
    Is issued for the feast in the pavilion.
    The first cup which he drains will be the last
    Quaffed by the line of Nimrod.

    _Bel._                         'Twas a brave one.

    _Arb._ And is a weak one--'tis worn out--we'll mend it.

    _Bel._ Art sure of that?

    _Arb._                    Its founder was a hunter--
    I am a soldier--what is there to fear?

    _Bel._ The soldier.

    _Arb._              And the priest, it may be: but
    If you thought thus, or think, why not retain
    Your king of concubines? why stir me up?
    Why spur me to this enterprise? your own                            60
    No less than mine?

    _Bel._            Look to the sky!

    _Arb._                            I look.

    _Bel._ What seest thou?

    _Arb._                  A fair summer's twilight, and
    The gathering of the stars.

    _Bel._                      And midst them, mark
    Yon earliest, and the brightest, which so quivers,
    As it would quit its place in the blue ether.

    _Arb._ Well?

    _Bel._      'Tis thy natal ruler--thy birth planet.

    _Arb._ (_touching his scabbard_).
    My star is in this scabbard: when it shines,
    It shall out-dazzle comets. Let us think
    Of what is to be done to justify
    Thy planets and their portents. When we conquer,                    70
    They shall have temples--aye, and priests--and thou
    Shalt be the pontiff of--what Gods thou wilt;
    For I observe that they are ever just,
    And own the bravest for the most devout.

    _Bel._ Aye, and the most devout for brave--thou hast not
    Seen me turn back from battle.

    _Arb._                         No; I own thee
    As firm in fight as Babylonia's captain,
    As skilful in Chaldea's worship: now,
    Will it but please thee to forget the priest,
    And be the warrior?

    _Bel._              Why not both?

    _Arb._                           The better;                        80
    And yet it almost shames me, we shall have
    So little to effect. This woman's warfare
    Degrades the very conqueror. To have plucked
    A bold and bloody despot from his throne,
    And grappled with him, clashing steel with steel,
    That were heroic or to win or fall;
    But to upraise my sword against this silkworm,[15]
    And hear him whine, it may be----

    _Bel._                           Do not deem it:
    He has that in him which may make you strife yet;
    And were he all you think, his guards are hardy,                    90
    And headed by the cool, stern Salemenes.

    _Arb._ They'll not resist.

    _Bel._                     Why not? they are soldiers.

    _Arb._                                                True,
    And therefore need a soldier to command them.

    _Bel._ That Salemenes is.

    _Arb._                    But not their King.
    Besides, he hates the effeminate thing that governs,
    For the Queen's sake, his sister. Mark you not
    He keeps aloof from all the revels?

    _Bel._                              But
    Not from the council--there he is ever constant.

    _Arb._ And ever thwarted: what would you have more
    To make a rebel out of? A fool reigning,                           100
    His blood dishonoured, and himself disdained:
    Why, it is _his_ revenge we work for.

    _Bel._                                Could
    He but be brought to think so: this I doubt of.

    _Arb._ What, if we sound him?

    _Bel._                       Yes--if the time served.

                              _Enter_ BALEA.

    _Bal._ Satraps! The king commands your presence at
    The feast to-night.

    _Bel._              To hear is to obey.
    In the pavilion?

    _Bal._           No; here in the palace.

    _Arb._ How! in the palace? it was not thus ordered.

    _Bal._ It is so ordered now.

    _Arb._                        And why?

    _Bal._                                I know not.
    May I retire?

    _Arb._       Stay.

    _Bel._ (_to Arb. aside_). Hush! let him go his way.                110
    (_Alternately to Bal._) Yes, Balea, thank the Monarch, kiss the hem
    Of his imperial robe, and say, his slaves
    Will take the crumbs he deigns to scatter from
    His royal table at the hour--was't midnight?

    _Bal._ It was: the place, the hall of Nimrod. Lords,
    I humble me before you, and depart.                     [_Exit_ BALEA.

    _Arb._ I like not this same sudden change of place;
    There is some mystery: wherefore should he change it?

    _Bel._ Doth he not change a thousand times a day?
    Sloth is of all things the most fanciful--                         120
    And moves more parasangs in its intents
    Than generals in their marches, when they seek
    To leave their foe at fault.--Why dost thou muse?

    _Arb._ He loved that gay pavilion,--it was ever
    His summer dotage.

    _Bel._             And he loved his Queen--
    And thrice a thousand harlotry besides--
    And he has loved all things by turns, except
    Wisdom and Glory.

    _Arb._            Still--I like it not.
    If he has changed--why, so must we: the attack
    Were easy in the isolated bower,                                   130
    Beset with drowsy guards and drunken courtiers;
    But in the hall of Nimrod----

    _Bel._                         Is it so?
    Methought the haughty soldier feared to mount
    A throne too easily--does it disappoint thee
    To find there is a slipperier step or two
    Than what was counted on?

    _Arb._                    When the hour comes,
    Thou shall perceive how far I fear or no.
    Thou hast seen my life at stake--and gaily played for:
    But here is more upon the die--a kingdom.

    _Bel._ I have foretold already--thou wilt win it:                  140
    Then on, and prosper.

    _Arb._                Now were I a soothsayer,
    I would have boded so much to myself.
    But be the stars obeyed--I cannot quarrel
    With them, nor their interpreter. Who's here?

                            _Enter_ SALEMENES.

    _Sal._ Satraps!

    _Bel._            My Prince!

    _Sal._                     Well met--I sought ye both,
    But elsewhere than the palace.

    _Arb._                         Wherefore so?

    _Sal._ 'Tis not the hour.

    _Arb._                    The hour!--what hour?

    _Sal._                                         Of midnight.

    _Bel._ Midnight, my Lord!

    _Sal._                     What, are you not invited?

    _Bel._ Oh! yes--we had forgotten.

    _Sal._                             Is it usual
    Thus to forget a Sovereign's invitation?

    _Arb._ Why--we but now received it.                                150

    _Sal._                              Then why here?

    _Arb._ On duty.

    _Sal._           On what duty?

    _Bel._                         On the state's.
    We have the privilege to approach the presence;
    But found the Monarch absent.[k]

    _Sal._                        And I too
    Am upon duty.

    _Arb._       May we crave its purport?

    _Sal._ To arrest two traitors. Guards! Within there!

                             _Enter Guards_.

    _Sal._ (_continuing_).                               Satraps,
    Your swords.

    _Bel._ (_delivering his_). My lord, behold my scimitar.

    _Arb._ (_drawing his sword_). Take mine.

    _Sal._ (_advancing_).                     I will.

    _Arb._                             But in your heart the blade--
    The hilt quits not this hand.[l]

    _Sal._ (_drawing_).         How! dost thou brave me?
    Tis well--this saves a trial, and false mercy.                     160
    Soldiers, hew down the rebel!

    _Arb._                        Soldiers! Aye--
    _Alone, you_ dare not.

    _Sal._                Alone! foolish slave--
    What is there in thee that a Prince should shrink from
    Of open force? We dread thy treason, not
    Thy strength: thy tooth is nought without its venom--
    The serpent's, not the lion's. Cut him down.

    _Bel._ (_interposing_). Arbaces! Are you mad? Have I not rendered
    _My_ sword? Then trust like me our Sovereign's justice.

    _Arb._   No--I will sooner trust the stars thou prat'st of,
    And this slight arm, and die a king at least                       170
    Of my own breath and body--so far that
    None else shall chain them.

    _Sal._ (_to the Guards_).     You hear _him_ and _me_.
    Take him not,--kill.

                        [_The Guards attack_ ARBACES, _who defends himself
                            valiantly and dexterously till they waver_.

    _Sal._                   Is it even so; and must
    I do the hangman's office? Recreants! see
    How you should fell a traitor.
                                             [SALEMENES _attacks_ ARBACES.

                    _Enter_ SARDANAPALUS _and Train_.

    _Sar._                         Hold your hands--
    Upon your lives, I say. What, deaf or drunken?
    My sword! O fool, I wear no sword: here, fellow,
    Give me thy weapon.                                     [_To a Guard_.

                 [SARDANAPALUS _snatches a sword from one of the soldiers,
                     and rushes between the combatants--they separate_.

    _Sar._             In my very palace!
    What hinders me from cleaving you in twain,
    Audacious brawlers?

    _Bel._              Sire, your justice.

    _Sal._                                 Or--                        180
    Your weakness.

    _Sar._ (_raising the sword_). How?

    _Sal._             Strike! so the blow's repeated
    Upon yon traitor--whom you spare a moment,
    I trust, for torture--I'm content.

    _Sar._                             What--him!
    Who dares assail Arbaces?

    _Sal._                    I!

    _Sar._                      Indeed!
    Prince, you forget yourself. Upon what warrant?

    _Sal._ (_showing the signet_). Thine.

    _Arb._ (_confused_).               The King's!

    _Sal._ Yes! and let the King confirm it.

    _Sar._ I parted not from this for such a purpose.

    _Sal._ You parted with it for your safety--I
    Employed it for the best. Pronounce in person.
    Here I am but your slave--a moment past                            190
    I was your representative.

    _Sar._                     Then sheathe
    Your swords.
           [ARBACES _and_ SALEMENES _return their swords to the scabbards_.

    _Sal._ Mine's sheathed: I pray you sheathe _not_ yours:
    Tis the sole sceptre left you now with safety.

    _Sar._ A heavy one; the hilt, too, hurts my hand.
    (_To a Guard_.) Here, fellow, take thy weapon back. Well, sirs,
    What doth this mean?

    _Bel._               The Prince must answer that.

    _Sal._ Truth upon my part, treason upon theirs.

    _Sar._ Treason--Arbaces! treachery and Beleses!
    That were an union I will not believe.

    _Bel._ Where is the proof?

    _Sal._                          I'll answer that, if once          200
    The king demands your fellow-traitor's sword.

    _Arb._ (_to Sal._). A sword which hath been drawn as oft as thine
    Against his foes.

    _Sal._          And now against his brother,
    And in an hour or so against himself.

    _Sar._ That is not possible: he dared not; no--
    No--I'll not hear of such things. These vain bickerings
    Are spawned in courts by base intrigues, and baser
    Hirelings, who live by lies on good men's lives.
    You must have been deceived, my brother.

    _Sal._                                   First
    Let him deliver up his weapon, and                                 210
    Proclaim himself your subject by that duty,
    And I will answer all.

    _Sar._                 Why, if I thought so--
    But no, it cannot be: the Mede Arbaces--
    The trusty, rough, true soldier--the best captain
    Of all who discipline our nations----No,
    I'll not insult him thus, to bid him render
    The scimitar to me he never yielded
    Unto our enemies. Chief, keep your weapon.

    _Sal._ (_delivering back the signet_).
    Monarch, take back your signet.

    _Sar._                          No, retain it;
    But use it with more moderation.

    _Sal._                          Sire,                             200
    I used it for your honour, and restore it
    Because I cannot keep it with my own.
    Bestow it on Arbaces.

    _Sar._                So I should:
    He never asked it.

    _Sal._             Doubt not, he will have it,
    Without that hollow semblance of respect.

    _Bel._ I know not what hath prejudiced the Prince
    So strongly 'gainst two subjects, than whom none
    Have been more zealous for Assyria's weal.

    _Sal._ Peace, factious priest, and faithless soldier! thou
    Unit'st in thy own person the worst vices                          230
    Of the most dangerous orders of mankind.
    Keep thy smooth words and juggling homilies
    For those who know thee not. Thy fellow's sin
    Is, at the least, a bold one, and not tempered
    By the tricks taught thee in Chaldea.

    _Bel._                                Hear him,
    My liege--the son of Belus! he blasphemes
    The worship of the land, which bows the knee
    Before your fathers.

    _Sar._               Oh! for that I pray you
    Let him have absolution. I dispense with
    The worship of dead men; feeling that I                            240
    Am mortal, and believing that the race
    From whence I sprung are--what I see them--ashes.

    _Bel._ King! Do not deem so: they are with the stars,

    _Sar._   You shall join them ere they will rise,
    If you preach farther--Why, _this_ is rank treason.

    _Sal._ My lord!

    _Sar._          To school me in the worship of
    Assyria's idols! Let him be released--
    Give him his sword.

    _Sal._              My Lord, and King, and Brother,
    I pray ye pause.

    _Sar._           Yes, and be sermonised,
    And dinned, and deafened with dead men and Baal,                   250
    And all Chaldea's starry mysteries.

    _Bel._ Monarch! respect them.

    _Sar._                       Oh! for that--I love them;
    I love to watch them in the deep blue vault,
    And to compare them with my Myrrha's eyes;
    I love to see their rays redoubled in
    The tremulous silver of Euphrates' wave,
    As the light breeze of midnight crisps the broad
    And rolling water, sighing through the sedges
    Which fringe his banks: but whether they may be
    Gods, as some say, or the abodes of Gods,                          260
    As others hold, or simply lamps of night,
    Worlds--or the lights of Worlds--I know nor care not.
    There's something sweet in my uncertainty
    I would not change for your Chaldean lore;
    Besides, I know of these all clay can know
    Of aught above it, or below it--nothing.
    I see their brilliancy and feel their beauty[m]--
    When they shine on my grave I shall know neither.

    _Bel._ For _neither_, Sire, say _better_.

    _Sar._                                    I will wait,
    If it so please you, Pontiff, for that knowledge.                  270
    In the mean time receive your sword, and know
    That I prefer your service militant
    Unto your ministry--not loving either.

    _Sal._ (_aside_). His lusts have made him mad. Then must I save him,
    Spite of himself.

    _Sar._            Please you to hear me, Satraps!
    And chiefly thou, my priest, because I doubt thee
    More than the soldier; and would doubt thee all
    Wert thou not half a warrior: let us part
    In peace--I'll not say pardon--which must be
    Earned by the guilty; this I'll not pronounce ye,                  280
    Although upon this breath of mine depends
    Your own; and, deadlier for ye, on my fears.
    But fear not--for that I am soft, not fearful--
    And so live on. Were I the thing some think me,
    Your heads would now be dripping the last drops
    Of their attainted gore from the high gates
    Of this our palace, into the dry dust,
    Their only portion of the coveted kingdom
    They would be crowned to reign o'er--let that pass.
    As I have said, I will not _deem_ ye guilty,                       290
    Nor _doom_ ye guiltless. Albeit better men
    Than ye or I stand ready to arraign you;
    And should I leave your fate to sterner judges,
    And proofs of all kinds, I might sacrifice
    Two men, who, whatsoe'er they now are, were
    Once honest. Ye are free, sirs.

    _Arb._                          Sire, this clemency----

    _Bel._ (_interrupting him_).
    Is worthy of yourself; and, although innocent,
    We thank----

    _Sar._      Priest! keep your thanksgivings for Belus;
    His offspring needs none.

    _Bel._                    But being innocent----

    _Sar._ Be silent.--Guilt is loud. If ye are loyal,                 300
    Ye are injured men, and should be sad, not grateful.

    _Bel._ So we should be, were justice always done
    By earthly power omnipotent; but Innocence
    Must oft receive her right as a mere favour.

    _Sar._ That's a good sentence for a homily,
    Though not for this occasion. Prithee keep it
    To plead thy Sovereign's cause before his people.

    _Bel._ I trust there is no cause.

    _Sar._                             No _cause_, perhaps;
    But many causers:--if ye meet with such
    In the exercise of your inquisitive function                       310
    On earth, or should you read of it in heaven
    In some mysterious twinkle of the stars,
    Which are your chronicles, I pray you note,
    That there are worse things betwixt earth and heaven
    Than him who ruleth many and slays none;
    And, hating not himself, yet loves his fellows
    Enough to spare even those who would not spare him
    Were they once masters--but that's doubtful. Satraps!
    Your swords and persons are at liberty
    To use them as ye will--but from this hour                         320
    I have no call for either. Salemenes!
    Follow me.

                  [_Exeunt_ SARDANAPALUS, SALEMENES, _and the Train, etc.,
                      leaving_ ARBACES _and_ BELESES.

    _Arb._        Beleses!

    _Bel._                 Now, what think you?

    _Arb._ That we are lost.

    _Bel._                 That we have won the kingdom.

    _Arb._ What? thus suspected--with the sword slung o'er us
    But by a single hair, and that still wavering,
    To be blown down by his imperious breath
    Which spared us--why, I know not.

    _Bel._                            Seek not why;
    But let us profit by the interval.[n]
    The hour is still our own--our power the same--
    The night the same we destined. He hath changed                    330
    Nothing except our ignorance of all
    Suspicion into such a certainty
    As must make madness of delay.

    _Arb._                        And yet--

    _Bel._ What, doubting still?

    _Arb._                       He spared our lives, nay, more,
    Saved them from Salemenes.

    _Bel._                     And how long
    Will he so spare? till the first drunken minute.

    _Arb._ Or sober, rather. Yet he did it nobly;
    Gave royally what we had forfeited

    _Bel._    Say bravely.

    _Arb._                 Somewhat of both, perhaps--
    But it has touched me, and, whate'er betide,                       340
    I will no further on.

    _Bel._                And lose the world!

    _Arb._ Lose any thing except my own esteem.

    _Bel._ I blush that we should owe our lives to such
    A king of distaffs!

    _Arb._              But no less we owe them;
    And I should blush far more to take the grantor's![16]

    _Bel._ Thou may'st endure whate'er thou wilt--the stars
    Have written otherwise.

    _Arb._                  Though they came down,
    And marshalled me the way in all their brightness,
    I would not follow.

    _Bel._             This is weakness--worse
    Than a scared beldam's dreaming of the dead,                       350
    And waking in the dark.--Go to--go to.

    _Arb._ Methought he looked like Nimrod as he spoke,
    Even as the proud imperial statue stands
    Looking the monarch of the kings around it,
    And sways, while they but ornament, the temple.

    _Bel._ I told you that you had too much despised him,
    And that there was some royalty within him--What
    then? he is the nobler foe.

    _Arb._                     But we
    The meaner.--Would he had not spared us!

    _Bel._                                   So--
    Wouldst thou be sacrificed thus readily?                           360

    _Arb._ No--but it had been better to have died
    Than live ungrateful.

    _Bel._                Oh, the souls of some men!
    Thou wouldst digest what some call treason, and
    Fools treachery--and, behold, upon the sudden,
    Because for something or for nothing, this
    Rash reveller steps, ostentatiously,
    'Twixt thee and Salemenes, thou art turned
    Into--what shall I say?--Sardanapalus!
    I know no name more ignominious.

    _Arb._                           But
    An hour ago, who dared to term me such                             370
    Had held his life but lightly--as it is,
    I must forgive you, even as he forgave us--
    Semiramis herself would not have done it.

    _Bel._ No--the Queen liked no sharers of the kingdom,
    Not even a husband.[17]

    _Arb._              I must serve him truly----

    _Bel._ And humbly?

    _Arb._               No, sir, proudly--being honest.
    I shall be nearer thrones than you to heaven;
    And if not quite so haughty, yet more lofty.
    You may do your own deeming--you have codes,
    And mysteries, and corollaries of                                  380
    Right and wrong, which I lack for my direction,
    And must pursue but what a plain heart teaches.
    And now you know me.

    _Bel._               Have you finished?

    _Arb._                                 Yes--
    With you.

    _Bel._    And would, perhaps, betray as well
    As quit me?

    _Arb._       That's a sacerdotal thought,
    And not a soldier's.

    _Bel._               Be it what you will--
    Truce with these wranglings, and but hear me.

    _Arb._                                        No--
    There is more peril in your subtle spirit
    Than in a phalanx.

    _Bel._            If it must be so--
    I'll on alone.

    _Arb._         Alone!

    _Bel._               Thrones hold but one.                         390

    _Arb._ But this is filled.

    _Bel._                      With worse than vacancy--
    A despised monarch. Look to it, Arbaces:
    I have still aided, cherished, loved, and urged you;
    Was willing even to serve you, in the hope
    To serve and save Assyria. Heaven itself
    Seemed to consent, and all events were friendly,
    Even to the last, till that your spirit shrunk
    Into a shallow softness; but now, rather
    Than see my country languish, I will be
    Her saviour or the victim of her tyrant--                          400
    Or one or both--for sometimes both are one;
    And if I win--Arbaces is my servant.

    _Arb._ _Your_ servant!

    _Bel._                Why not? better than be slave,
    The _pardoned_ slave of _she_ Sardanapalus!

                              _Enter_ PANIA.

    _Pan._ My Lords, I bear an order from the king.

    _Arb._ It is obeyed ere spoken.

    _Bel._                          Notwithstanding,
    Let's hear it.

    _Pan._         Forthwith, on this very night,
    Repair to your respective satrapies
    Of Babylon and Media.

    _Bel._                With our troops?

    _Pan._ My order is unto the Satraps and                            410
    Their household train.

    _Arb._                But----

    _Bel._                        It must be obeyed:
    Say, we depart.

    _Pan._          My order is to see you
    Depart, and not to bear your answer.

    _Bel._ (_aside_).                   Aye[o]!
    Well, Sir--we will accompany you hence.

    _Pan._ I will retire to marshal forth the guard
    Of honour which befits your rank, and wait
    Your leisure, so that it the hour exceeds not.
                                                            [_Exit_ PANIA.

    _Bel._ Now then obey!

    _Arb._                Doubtless.

    _Bel._                           Yes, to the gates
    That grate the palace, which is now our prison--
    No further.

    _Arb._   Thou hast harped the truth indeed!                        420
    The realm itself, in all its wide extension,
    Yawns dungeons at each step for thee and me.

    _Bel._ Graves!

    _Arb._         If I thought so, this good sword should dig
    One more than mine.

    _Bel._              It shall have work enough.
    Let me hope better than thou augurest;
    At present, let us hence as best we may.
    Thou dost agree with me in understanding
    This order as a sentence?

    _Arb._                    Why, what other
    Interpretation should it bear? it is
    The very policy of Orient monarchs--                               430
    Pardon and poison--favours and a sword--
    A distant voyage, and an eternal sleep.
    How many Satraps in his father's time--
    For he I own is, or at least _was_, bloodless--

    _Bel._ But _will_ not--_can_ not be so now.

    _Arb._                                     I doubt it.
    How many Satraps have I seen set out
    In his Sire's day for mighty Vice-royalties,
    Whose tombs are on their path! I know not how,
    But they all sickened by the way, it was
    So long and heavy.

    _Bel._             Let us but regain                               440
    The free air of the city, and we'll shorten
    The journey.

    _Arb._      'Twill be shortened at the gates,
    It may be.

    _Bel._    No; they hardly will risk that.
    They mean us to die privately, but not
    Within the palace or the city walls,
    Where we are known, and may have partisans:
    If they had meant to slay us here, we were
    No longer with the living. Let us hence.

    _Arb._ If I but thought he did not mean my life--

    _Bel._ Fool! hence--what else should despotism alarmed             450
    Mean? Let us but rejoin our troops, and march.

    _Arb._ Towards our provinces?

    _Bel._                        No; towards your kingdom.
    There's time--there's heart, and hope, and power, and means--
    Which their half measures leave us in full scope.--

    _Arb._ And I even yet repenting must
    Relapse to guilt!

    _Bel._            Self-defence is a virtue,
    Sole bulwark of all right. Away, I say!
    Let's leave this place, the air grows thick and choking,
    And the walls have a scent of night-shade--hence!
    Let us not leave them time for further council.                    460
    Our quick departure proves our civic zeal;
    Our quick departure hinders our good escort,
    The worthy Pania, from anticipating
    The orders of some parasangs from hence:
    Nay, there's no other choice, but----hence, I say[p].
                          [_Exit with_ ARBACES, _who follows reluctantly_.

                  _Enter_ SARDANAPALUS _and_ SALEMENES.

    _Sar._ Well, all is remedied, and without bloodshed,
    That worst of mockeries of a remedy;
    We are now secure by these men's exile.

    _Sal._                                  Yes,
    As he who treads on flowers is from the adder
    Twined round their roots.

    _Sar._                    Why, what wouldst have me do?            470

    _Sal._ Undo what you have done.

    _Sar._                           Revoke my pardon?

    _Sal._ Replace the crown now tottering on your temples.

    _Sar._ That were tyrannical.

    _Sal._                       But sure.

    _Sar._                                 We are so.
    What danger can they work upon the frontier?

    _Sal._ They are not there yet--never should they be so,
    Were I well listened to.

    _Sar._                   Nay, I _have_ listened
    Impartially to thee--why not to them?

    _Sal._ You may know that hereafter; as it is,
    I take my leave to order forth the guard.

    _Sar._ And you will join us at the banquet?

    _Sal._                                      Sire,                  480
    Dispense with me--I am no wassailer:
    Command me in all service save the Bacchant's.

    _Sar._ Nay, but 'tis fit to revel now and then.

    _Sal._ And fit that some should watch for those who revel
    Too oft. Am I permitted to depart?

    _Sar._ Yes----Stay a moment, my good Salemenes,
    My brother--my best subject--better Prince
    Than I am King. You should have been the monarch,
    And I--I know not what, and care not; but
    Think not I am insensible to all                                   490
    Thine honest wisdom, and thy rough yet kind,
    Though oft-reproving sufferance of my follies.
    If I have spared these men against thy counsel,
    That is, their lives--it is not that I doubt
    The advice was sound; but, let them live: we will not
    Cavil about their lives--so let them mend them.
    Their banishment will leave me still sound sleep,
    Which their death had not left me.

    _Sal._                             Thus you run
    The risk to sleep for ever, to save traitors--
    A moment's pang now changed for years of crime.                    500
    Still let them be made quiet.

    _Sar._                        Tempt me not;
    My word is past.

    _Sal._           But it may be recalled.

    _Sar._ 'Tis royal.

    _Sal._              And should therefore be decisive.
    This half-indulgence of an exile serves
    But to provoke--a pardon should be full,
    Or it is none.

    _Sar._         And who persuaded me
    After I had repealed them, or at least
    Only dismissed them from our presence, who
    Urged me to send them to their satrapies?

    _Sal._ True; that I had forgotten; that is, Sire,                  510
    If they e'er reached their Satrapies--why, then,
    Reprove me more for my advice.

    _Sar._                        And if
    They do not reach them--look to it!--in safety,
    In safety, mark me--and security--
    Look to thine own.

    _Sal._             Permit me to depart;
    Their _safety_ shall be cared for.

    _Sar._                            Get thee hence, then;
    And, prithee, think more gently of thy brother.

    _Sal._ Sire, I shall ever duly serve my sovereign.
                                                        [_Exit_ SALEMENES.

    _Sar._ (_solus_). That man is of a temper too severe;
    Hard but as lofty as the rock, and free                            520
    From all the taints of common earth--while I
    Am softer clay, impregnated with flowers:
    But as our mould is, must the produce be.
    If I have erred this time, 'tis on the side
    Where Error sits most lightly on that sense,
    I know not what to call it; but it reckons
    With me ofttimes for pain, and sometimes pleasure;
    A spirit which seems placed about my heart
    To count its throbs, not quicken them, and ask
    Questions which mortal never dared to ask me,                      530
    Nor Baal, though an oracular deity--[q]
    Albeit his marble face majestical
    Frowns as the shadows of the evening dim
    His brows to changed expression, till at times
    I think the statue looks in act to speak.
    Away with these vain thoughts, I will be joyous--
    And here comes Joy's true herald.

                             _Enter_ MYRRHA.

    _Myr._                           King! the sky
    Is overcast, and musters muttering thunder,
    In clouds that seem approaching fast, and show
    In forked flashes a commanding tempest.[r]                         540
    Will you then quit the palace?

    _Sar._                        Tempest, say'st thou?

    _Myr._ Aye, my good lord.

    _Sar._                    For my own part, I should be
    Not ill content to vary the smooth scene,
    And watch the warring elements; but this
    Would little suit the silken garments and
    Smooth faces of our festive friends. Say, Myrrha,
    Art thou of those who dread the roar of clouds?

    _Myr._ In my own country we respect their voices
    As auguries of Jove.[s]

    _Sar._              Jove!--aye, your Baal--
    Ours also has a property in thunder,                               550
    And ever and anon some falling bolt
    Proves his divinity,--and yet sometimes
    Strikes his own altars.

    _Myr._                  That were a dread omen.

    _Sar._ Yes--for the priests. Well, we will not go forth
    Beyond the palace walls to-night, but make
    Our feast within.

    _Myr._             Now, Jove be praised! that he
    Hath heard the prayer thou wouldst not hear. The Gods
    Are kinder to thee than thou to thyself,
    And flash this storm between thee and thy foes,
    To shield thee from them.

    _Sar._                   Child, if there be peril,                 560
    Methinks it is the same within these walls
    As on the river's brink.

    _Myr._                   Not so; these walls
    Are high and strong, and guarded. Treason has
    To penetrate through many a winding way,
    And massy portal; but in the pavilion
    There is no bulwark.

    _Sar._               No, nor in the palace,
    Nor in the fortress, nor upon the top
    Of cloud-fenced Caucasus, where the eagle sits
    Nested in pathless clefts, if treachery be:
    Even as the arrow finds the airy king,                             570
    The steel will reach the earthly. But be calm;
    The men, or innocent or guilty, are
    Banished, and far upon their way.

    _Myr._                            They live, then?

    _Sar._ So sanguinary? _Thou!_

    _Myr._                      I would not shrink
    From just infliction of due punishment
    On those who seek your life: were't otherwise,
    I should not merit mine. Besides, you heard
    The princely Salemenes.

    _Sar._                  This is strange;
    The gentle and the austere are both against me,
    And urge me to revenge.

    _Myr._                 'Tis a Greek virtue.                        580

    _Sar._ But not a kingly one--I'll none on't; or
    If ever I indulge in't, it shall be
    With kings--my equals.

    _Myr._                 These men sought to be so.

    _Sar._ Myrrha, this is too feminine, and springs
    From fear----

    _Myr._       For you.

    _Sar._               No matter, still 'tis fear.
    I have observed your sex, once roused to wrath,
    Are timidly vindictive to a pitch
    Of perseverance, which I would not copy.
    I thought you were exempt from this, as from
    The childish helplessness of Asian women[t].                       590

    _Myr._ My Lord, I am no boaster of my love,
    Nor of my attributes; I have shared your splendour,
    And will partake your fortunes. You may live
    To find one slave more true than subject myriads:
    But this the Gods avert! I am content
    To be beloved on trust for what I feel,
    Rather than prove it to you in your griefs[u],
    Which might not yield to any cares of mine.

    _Sar._ Grief cannot come where perfect love exists,
    Except to heighten it, and vanish from                             600
    That which it could not scare away. Let's in--
    The hour approaches, and we must prepare
    To meet the invited guests who grace our feast.

                                 ACT III.

       SCENE I.--_The Hall of the Palace illuminated_--SARDANAPALUS
         _and his Guests at Table.--A storm without, and Thunder
         occasionally heard during the Banquet_.

    _Sar._ Fill full! why this is as it should be: here
    Is my true realm, amidst bright eyes and faces
    Happy as fair! Here sorrow cannot reach.

    _Zam._ Nor elsewhere--where the King is, pleasure sparkles.

    _Sar._ Is not this better now than Nimrod's huntings,
    Or my wild Grandam's chase in search of kingdoms
    She could not keep when conquered?

    _Alt._                            Mighty though
    They were, as all thy royal line have been,
    Yet none of those who went before have reached
    The acme of Sardanapalus, who                                       10
    Has placed his joy in peace--the sole true glory.

    _Sar._ And pleasure, good Altada, to which glory
    Is but the path. What is it that we seek?
    Enjoyment! We have cut the way short to it,
    And not gone tracking it through human ashes,
    Making a grave with every footstep.

    _Zam._                              No;
    All hearts are happy, and all voices bless
    The King of peace--who holds a world in jubilee.

    _Sar._ Art sure of that? I have heard otherwise;
    Some say that there be traitors.

    _Zam._                           Traitors they                      20
    Who dare to say so!--'Tis impossible.
    What cause?

    _Sar._      What cause? true,--fill the goblet up;
    We will not think of them: there are none such,
    Or if there be, they are gone.

    _Alt._                         Guests, to my pledge!
    Down on your knees, and drink a measure to
    The safety of the King--the monarch, say I?
    The God Sardanapalus!
                              [ZAMES _and the Guests kneel, and exclaim_--
                          Mightier than
    His father Baal, the God Sardanapalus!
                 [_It thunders as they kneel; some start up in confusion_.

    _Zam._ Why do you rise, my friends? in that strong peal
    His father gods consented.

    _Myr._                     Menaced, rather.                         30
    King, wilt thou bear this mad impiety?

    _Sar._ Impiety!--nay, if the sires who reigned
    Before me can be Gods, I'll not disgrace
    Their lineage. But arise, my pious friends;
    Hoard your devotion for the Thunderer there:
    I seek but to be loved, not worshipped.

    _Alt._                                 Both--
    Both you must ever be by all true subjects.

    _Sar._ Methinks the thunders still increase: it is
    An awful night.

    _Myr._          Oh yes, for those who have
    No palace to protect their worshippers.                             40

    _Sar._ That's true, my Myrrha; and could I convert
    My realm to one wide shelter for the wretched,
    I'd do it.

    _Myr._   Thou'rt no God, then--not to be
    Able to work a will so good and general,
    As thy wish would imply.

    _Sar._                   And your Gods, then,
    Who can, and do not?

    _Myr._               Do not speak of that,
    Lest we provoke them.

    _Sar._                True--, they love not censure
    Better than mortals. Friends, a thought has struck me:
    Were there no temples, would there, think ye, be
    Air worshippers?[v] that is, when it is angry,                      50
    And pelting as even now.

    _Myr._                 The Persian prays
    Upon his mountain.

    _Sar._             Yes, when the Sun shines.

    _Myr._ And I would ask if this your palace were
    Unroofed and desolate, how many flatterers
    Would lick the dust in which the King lay low?

    _Alt._ The fair Ionian is too sarcastic
    Upon a nation whom she knows not well;
    The Assyrians know no pleasure but their King's,
    And homage is their pride.

    _Sar._                     Nay, pardon, guests,
    The fair Greek's readiness of speech.

    _Alt._                               _Pardon!_ sire:                60
    We honour her of all things next to thee.
    Hark! what was that?

    _Zam._               That! nothing but the jar
    Of distant portals shaken by the wind.

    _Alt._ It sounded like the clash of--hark again!

    _Zam._ The big rain pattering on the roof.

    _Sar._                                      No more.
    Myrrha, my love, hast thou thy shell in order?
    Sing me a song of Sappho[18]; her, thou know'st,
    Who in thy country threw----

         _Enter_ PANIA, _with his sword and garments bloody, and
                disordered. The guests rise in confusion_.

    _Pan._ (_to the Guards_).   Look to the portals;
    And with your best speed to the walls without.
    Your arms! To arms! The King's in danger. Monarch                   70
    Excuse this haste,--'tis faith.

    _Sar._                          Speak on.

    _Pan._                                   It is
    As Salemenes feared; the faithless Satraps----

    _Sar._ You are wounded--give some wine. Take breath, good Pania.

    _Pan._ 'Tis nothing--a mere flesh wound. I am worn
    More with my speed to warn my sovereign,
    Than hurt in his defence.

    _Myr._                    Well, Sir, the rebels?

    _Pan._ Soon as Arbaces and Beleses reached
    Their stations in the city, they refused
    To march; and on my attempt to use the power
    Which I was delegated with, they called                             80
    Upon their troops, who rose in fierce defiance.

    _Myr._ All?

    _Pan._     Too many.

    _Sar._              Spare not of thy free speech,
    To spare mine ears--the truth.

    _Pan._                       My own slight guard
    Were faithful, and what's left of it is still so.

    _Myr._ And are these all the force still faithful?

    _Pan._                                            No--
    The Bactrians, now led on by Salemenes,
    Who even then was on his way, still urged
    By strong suspicion of the Median chiefs,
    Are numerous, and make strong head against
    The rebels, fighting inch by inch, and forming                      90
    An orb around the palace, where they mean
    To centre all their force, and save the King.
    (_He hesitates_.) I am charged to----

    _Myr._                            'Tis no time for hesitation.

    _Pan._ Prince Salemenes doth implore the King
    To arm himself, although but for a moment,
    And show himself unto the soldiers: his
    Sole presence in this instant might do more
    Than hosts can do in his behalf.

    _Sar._                           What, ho!
    My armour there.

    _Myr._           And wilt thou?

    _Sar._                         Will I not?
    Ho, there!--but seek not for the buckler: 'tis                     100
    Too heavy:--a light cuirass and my sword.
    Where are the rebels?

    _Pan._                Scarce a furlong's length
    From the outward wall the fiercest conflict rages.

    _Sar._ Then I may charge on horseback. Sfero, ho!
    Order my horse out.--There is space enough
    Even in our courts, and by the outer gate,
    To marshal half the horsemen of Arabia.
                                           [_Exit_ SFERO _for the armour_.

    _Myr._ How I do love thee!

    _Sar._                     I ne'er doubted it.

    _Myr._ But now I know thee.

    _Sar._ (_to his Attendant_). Bring down my spear too--
    Where's Salemenes?

    _Pan._             Where a soldier should be,                      110
    In the thick of the fight.

    _Sar._                     Then hasten to him----Is
    The path still open, and communication
    Left 'twixt the palace and the phalanx?

    _Pan._                                  'Twas
    When I late left him, and I have no fear;
    Our troops were steady, and the phalanx formed.

    _Sar._ Tell him to spare his person for the present,
    And that I will not spare my own--and say,
    I come.

    _Pan._ There's victory in the very word.                [_Exit_ PANIA.

    _Sar._ Altada--Zames--forth, and arm ye! There
    Is all in readiness in the armoury.                                120
    See that the women are bestowed in safety
    In the remote apartments: let a guard
    Be set before them, with strict charge to quit
    The post but with their lives--command it, Zames.
    Altada, arm yourself, and return here;
    Your post is near our person.
                           [_Exeunt_ ZAMES, ALTADA, _and all save_ MYRRHA.

          _Enter_ SFERO _and others with the King's Arms, etc._

    _Sfe._                     King! your armour.

    _Sar._ (_arming himself_). Give me the cuirass--so: my baldric; now
    My sword: I had forgot the helm--where is it?
    That's well--no, 'tis too heavy; you mistake, too--
    It was not this I meant, but that which bears                      130
    A diadem around it.

    _Sfe._              Sire, I deemed
    That too conspicuous from the precious stones
    To risk your sacred brow beneath--and trust me,
    This is of better metal, though less rich.

    _Sar._ You deemed! Are you too turned a rebel? Fellow!
    Your part is to obey: return, and--no--
    It is too late--I will go forth without it.

    _Sfe._ At least, wear this.

    _Sar._                       Wear Caucasus! why, 'tis
    A mountain on my temples.

    _Sfe._                    Sire, the meanest
    Soldier goes not forth thus exposed to battle.                     140
    All men will recognise you--for the storm
    Has ceased, and the moon breaks forth in her brightness.

    _Sar._ I go forth to be recognised, and thus
    Shall be so sooner. Now--my spear! I'm armed.
                              [_In going stops short, and turns to_ SFERO.
    Sfero--I had forgotten--bring the mirror[19].

    _Sfe._ The mirror, Sire?

    _Sar._                   Yes, sir, of polished brass,
    Brought from the spoils of India--but be speedy.
                                                            [_Exit_ SFERO.

    _Sar._ Myrrha, retire unto a place of safety.
    Why went you not forth with the other damsels?

    _Myr._ Because my place is here.

    _Sar._                           And when I am gone----            150

    _Myr._ I follow.

    _Sar._           _You!_ to battle?

    _Myr._                             If it were so,
    'Twere not the first Greek girl had trod the path.
    I will await here your _return_.

    _Sar._                        The place
    Is spacious, and the first to be sought out,
    If they prevail; and, if it be so,
    And I return not----

    _Myr._               Still we meet again.

    _Sar._ How?

    _Myr._      In the spot where all must meet at last--
    In Hades! if there be, as I believe,
    A shore beyond the Styx; and if there be not,
    In ashes.

    _Sar._    Darest thou so much?

    _Myr._                         I dare all things                   160
    Except survive what I have loved, to be
    A rebel's booty: forth, and do your bravest.

                   _Re-enter_ SFERO _with the mirror_.

    _Sar._ (_looking at himself_).
    This cuirass fits me well, the baldric better,
    And the helm not at all. Methinks I seem
                          [_Flings away the helmet after trying it again_.
    Passing well in these toys; and now to prove them.
    Altada! Where's Altada?

    _Sfe._                  Waiting, Sire,
    Without: he has your shield in readiness.

    _Sar._ True--I forgot--he is my shield-bearer
    By right of blood, derived from age to age.
    Myrrha, embrace me;--yet once more--once more--                    170
    Love me, whate'er betide. My chiefest glory
    Shall be to make me worthier of your love.

    _Myr._ Go forth, and conquer!
                                       [_Exeunt_ SARDANAPALUS _and_ SFERO.
                                 Now, I am alone:
    All are gone forth, and of that all how few
    Perhaps return! Let him but vanquish, and
    Me perish! If he vanquish not, I perish;
    For I will not outlive him. He has wound
    About my heart, I know not how nor why.
    Not for that he is King; for now his kingdom
    Rocks underneath his throne, and the earth yawns                   180
    To yield him no more of it than a grave;
    And yet I love him more. Oh, mighty Jove!
    Forgive this monstrous love for a barbarian,
    Who knows not of Olympus! yes, I love him
    Now--now--far more than----Hark--to the war shout!
    Methinks it nears me. If it should be so,
                                          [_She draws forth a small vial_.
    This cunning Colchian poison, which my father
    Learned to compound on Euxine shores, and taught me
    How to preserve, shall free me! It had freed me
    Long ere this hour, but that I loved until                         190
    I half forgot I was a slave:--where all
    Are slaves save One, and proud of servitude,
    So they are served in turn by something lower
    In the degree of bondage: we forget
    That shackles worn like ornaments no less
    Are chains. Again that shout! and now the clash
    Of arms--and now--and now----

                             _Enter_ ALTADA.

    _Alt._                        Ho, Sfero, ho!

    _Myr._ He is not here; what wouldst thou with him? How
    Goes on the conflict?

    _Alt._                Dubiously and fiercely.

    _Myr._ And the King?

    _Alt._              Like a king. I must find Sfero,                200
    And bring him a new spear with his own helmet.[w]
    He fights till now bare-headed, and by far
    Too much exposed. The soldiers knew his face,
    And the foe too; and in the moon's broad light,
    His silk tiara and his flowing hair
    Make him a mark too royal. Every arrow
    Is pointed at the fair hair and fair features,
    And the broad fillet which crowns both.

    _Myr._                                 Ye Gods,
    Who fulminate o'er my father's land, protect him!
    Were you sent by the King?

    _Alt._                     By Salemenes,                           210
    Who sent me privily upon this charge,
    Without the knowledge of the careless sovereign.
    The King! the King fights as he revels! ho!
    What, Sfero! I will seek the armoury--
    He must be there.                                      [_Exit_ ALTADA.

    _Myr._           'Tis no dishonour--no--
    'Tis no dishonour to have loved this man.
    I almost wish now, what I never wished
    Before--that he were Grecian. If Alcides
    Were shamed in wearing Lydian Omphale's
    She-garb, and wielding her vile distaff; surely                    220
    He, who springs up a Hercules at once,
    Nursed in effeminate arts from youth to manhood,
    And rushes from the banquet to the battle,
    As though it were a bed of love, deserves
    That a Greek girl should be his paramour,
    And a Greek bard his minstrel--a Greek tomb
    His monument. How goes the strife, sir?

                           _Enter an Officer_.

    _Officer_.                            Lost,
    Lost almost past recovery. Zames! Where
    Is Zames?

    _Myr._     Posted with the guard appointed
    To watch before the apartment of the women.                        230
                                                          [_Exit Officer_.

    _Myr._ (_sola_). He's gone; and told no more than that all's lost!
    What need have I to know more? In those words,
    Those little words, a kingdom and a king,
    A line of thirteen ages, and the lives
    Of thousands, and the fortune of all left
    With life, are merged; and I, too, with the great,
    Like a small bubble breaking with the wave
    Which bore it, shall be nothing. At the least,
    My fate is in my keeping: no proud victor
    Shall count me with his spoils.

                              _Enter_ PANIA.

    _Pan._                         Away with me,                       240
    Myrrha, without delay; we must not lose
    A moment--all that's left us now.

    _Myr._                            The King?

    _Pan._ Sent me here to conduct you hence, beyond
    The river, by a secret passage.

    _Myr._                          Then
    He lives----

    _Pan._         And charged me to secure your life,
    And beg you to live on for his sake, till
    He can rejoin you.

    _Myr._             Will he then give way?

    _Pan._ Not till the last. Still, still he does whate'er
    Despair can do; and step by step disputes
    The very palace.

    _Myr._           They are here, then:--aye,                        250
    Their shouts come ringing through the ancient halls,
    Never profaned by rebel echoes till
    This fatal night. Farewell, Assyria's line!
    Farewell to all of Nimrod! Even the name
    Is now no more.

    _Pan._          Away with me--away!

    _Myr._ No: I'll die here!--Away, and tell your King
    I loved him to the last.

         _Enter_ SARDANAPALUS _and_   SALEMENES _with Soldiers_.
          PANIA _quits_ MYRRHA, _and ranges himself with them_.

    _Sar._                  Since it is thus,
    We'll die where we were born--in our own halls[x]
    Serry your ranks--stand firm. I have despatched
    A trusty satrap for the guard of Zames,
    All fresh and faithful; they'll be here anon.
    All is not over,--Pania, look to Myrrha.
                                          [PANIA _returns towards_ MYRRHA.

    _Sal._ We have breathing time; yet once more charge, my friends--
    One for Assyria!

    _Sar._           Rather say for Bactria!
    My faithful Bactrians, I will henceforth be
    King of your nation, and we'll hold together
    This realm as province.

    _Sal._                  Hark! they come--they come.

             _Enter_ BELESES _and_ ARBACES _with the Rebels_.

    _Arb._ Set on, we have them in the toil. Charge!

    _Bel._ On! on!--Heaven fights for us, and with us--On!

               [_They charge the King and_ SALEMENES _with their troops,
                     who defend themselves till the arrival of_
                     ZAMES _with the Guard before mentioned.
                     The Rebels are then driven off, and pursued by_
                     SALEMENES, _etc. As the King is going to join the
                     pursuit,_ BELESES _crosses him_.

    _Bel._ Ho! tyrant--_I_ will end this war.

    _Sar._                                   Even so,                  270
    My warlike priest, and precious prophet, and
    Grateful and trusty subject: yield, I pray thee.
    I would reserve thee for a fitter doom,
    Rather than dip my hands in holy blood.

    _Bel._ Thine hour is come.

    _Sar._                    No, thine.--I've lately read,
    Though but a young astrologer, the stars;
    And ranging round the zodiac, found thy fate
    In the sign of the Scorpion, which proclaims
    That thou wilt now be crushed.

    _Bel._                        But not by thee.
                         [_They fight;_ BELESES _is wounded and disarmed_.

    _Sar._ (_raising his sword to despatch him, exclaims_)--
    Now call upon thy planets, will they shoot                         280
    From the sky to preserve their seer and credit?

                            [_A party of Rebels enter and rescue_ BELESES.
                              _They assail the King, who in turn, is
                             rescued by a Party of his Soldiers, who drive
                             the Rebels off_.

    The villain was a prophet after all.
    Upon them--ho! there--victory is ours.
                                                       [_Exit in pursuit_.

    _Myr._ (_to Pan._)
    Pursue! Why stand'st thou here, and leavest the ranks
    Of fellow-soldiers conquering without thee?

    _Pan._ The King's command was not to quit thee.

    _Myr._                                         _Me!_
    Think not of me--a single soldier's arm
    Must not be wanting now. I ask no guard,
    I need no guard: what, with a world at stake,
    Keep watch upon a woman? Hence, I say,                             290
    Or thou art shamed! Nay, then, _I_ will go forth,
    A feeble female, 'midst their desperate strife,
    And bid thee guard me _there_--where thou shouldst shield
    Thy sovereign.                                         [_Exit_ MYRRHA.

    _Pan._        Yet stay, damsel!--She's gone.
    If aught of ill betide her, better I
    Had lost my life. Sardanapalus holds her
    Far dearer than his kingdom, yet he fights
    For that too; and can I do less than he,
    Who never flashed a scimitar till now?
    Myrrha, return, and I obey you, though                             300
    In disobedience to the monarch.                         [_Exit_ PANIA.

            _Enter_ ALTADA _and_ SFERO _by an opposite door_.

    _Alt._                       Myrrha!
    What, gone? yet she was here when the fight raged,
    And Pania also. Can aught have befallen them?

    _Sfe._ I saw both safe, when late the rebels fled;
    They probably are but retired to make
    Their way back to the harem.

    _Alt._                      If the King
    Prove victor, as it seems even now he must,
    And miss his own Ionian, we are doomed
    To worse than captive rebels.

    _Sfe._                       Let us trace them:
    She cannot be fled far; and, found, she makes                      310
    A richer prize to our soft sovereign
    Than his recovered kingdom.

    _Alt._                      Baal himself
    Ne'er fought more fiercely to win empire, than
    His silken son to save it: he defies
    All augury of foes or friends; and like
    The close and sultry summer's day, which bodes
    A twilight tempest, bursts forth in such thunder
    As sweeps the air and deluges the earth.
    The man's inscrutable.

    _Sfe._                 Not more than others.
    All are the sons of circumstance: away--                           320
    Let's seek the slave out, or prepare to be
    Tortured for his infatuation, and[y]
    Condemned without a crime.                                  [_Exeunt_.

                  _Enter_ SALEMENES _and Soldiers, etc._

    _Sal._                    The triumph is
    Flattering: they are beaten backward from the palace,
    And we have opened regular access
    To the troops stationed on the other side
    Euphrates, who may still be true; nay, must be,
    When they hear of our victory. But where
    Is the chief victor? where's the King?

             _Enter_ SARDANAPALUS, _cum suis, etc., and_ MYRRHA.

    _Sar._                                  Here, brother.

    _Sal._ Unhurt, I hope.

    _Sar._                 Not quite; but let it pass.                 330
    We've cleared the palace----

    _Sal._                        And I trust the city.
    Our numbers gather; and I've ordered onward
    A cloud of Parthians, hitherto reserved,
    All fresh and fiery, to be poured upon them
    In their retreat, which soon will be a flight.

    _Sar._ It is already, or at least they marched
    Faster than I could follow with my Bactrians,
    Who spared no speed. I am spent: give me a seat.

    _Sal._ There stands the throne, Sire.

    _Sar._                                Tis no place to rest on,
    For mind nor body: let me have a couch,                            340
                                                     [_They place a seat_.
    A peasant's stool, I care not what: so--now
    I breathe more freely.

    _Sal._                 This great hour has proved
    The brightest and most glorious of your life.

    _Sar._ And the most tiresome. Where's my cupbearer?
    Bring me some water.

    _Sal._ (_smiling_) 'Tis the first time he
    Ever had such an order: even I,[z]
    Your most austere of counsellors, would now
    Suggest a purpler beverage.

    _Sar._                    Blood--doubtless.
    But there's enough of that shed; as for wine,
    I have learned to-night the price of the pure element:             350
    Thrice have I drank of it, and thrice renewed,
    With greater strength than the grape ever gave me,
    My charge upon the rebels. Where's the soldier
    Who gave me water in his helmet?[20]

    _One of the Guards_.              Slain, Sire!
    An arrow pierced his brain, while, scattering[aa]
    The last drops from his helm, he stood in act
    To place it on his brows.

    _Sar._                   Slain! unrewarded!
    And slain to serve my thirst: that's hard, poor slave!
    Had he but lived, I would have gorged him with
    Gold: all the gold of earth could ne'er repay                      360
    The pleasure of that draught; for I was parched
    As I am now.                           [_They bring water--he drinks_.
                 I live again--from henceforth
    The goblet I reserve for hours of love,
    But war on water.

    _Sal._            And that bandage, Sire,
    Which girds your arm?

    _Sar._                A scratch from brave Beleses.

    _Myr._ Oh! he is wounded![ab]

    _Sar._                        Not too much of that;
    And yet it feels a little stiff and painful,
    Now I am cooler.

    _Myr._           You have bound it with----

    _Sar._ The fillet of my diadem: the first time
    That ornament was ever aught to me,                                370
    Save an incumbrance.

    _Myr._ (_to the Attendants_). Summon speedily
    A leech of the most skilful: pray, retire:
    I will unbind your wound and tend it.

    _Sar._                                Do so,
    For now it throbs sufficiently: but what
    Know'st thou of wounds? yet wherefore do I ask?
    Know'st thou, my brother, where I lighted on
    This minion?

    _Sal._       Herding with the other females,
    Like frightened antelopes.

    _Sar._                     No: like the dam
    Of the young lion, femininely raging
    (And femininely meaneth furiously,                                 380
    Because all passions in excess are female,)
    Against the hunter flying with her cub,
    She urged on with her voice and gesture, and
    Her floating hair and flashing eyes,[21] the soldiers,
    In the pursuit.

    _Sal._         Indeed!

    _Sar._                You see, this night
    Made warriors of more than me. I paused
    To look upon her, and her kindled cheek;
    Her large black eyes, that flashed through her long hair
    As it streamed o'er her; her blue veins that rose
    Along her most transparent brow; her nostril                       390
    Dilated from its symmetry; her lips
    Apart; her voice that clove through all the din,
    As a lute pierceth through the cymbal's clash,
    Jarred but not drowned by the loud brattling; her
    Waved arms, more dazzling with their own born whiteness
    Than the steel her hand held, which she caught up
    From a dead soldier's grasp;--all these things made
    Her seem unto the troops a prophetess
    Of victory, or Victory herself,
    Come down to hail us hers.[22]

    _Sal._ (_aside_).           This is too much.                      400
    Again the love-fit's on him, and all's lost,
    Unless we turn his thoughts. (_Aloud_.) But pray thee, Sire,
    Think of your wound--you said even now 'twas painful.

    _Sar._ That's true, too; but I must not think of it.

    _Sal._ I have looked to all things needful, and will now
    Receive reports of progress made in such
    Orders as I had given, and then return
    To hear your further pleasure.

    _Sar._                         Be it so.

    _Sal._ (_in retiring_). Myrrha!

    _Myr._                         Prince!

    _Sal._         You have shown a soul to-night,
    Which, were he not my sister's lord----But now                     410
    I have no time: thou lovest the King?

    _Myr._                               I love

    _Sal._         But wouldst have him King still?

    _Myr._ I would not have him less than what he should be.

    _Sal._ Well then, to have him King, and yours, and all
    He should, or should not be; to have him _live_,
    Let him not sink back into luxury.
    You have more power upon his spirit than
    Wisdom within these walls, or fierce rebellion
    Raging without: look well that he relapse not.

    _Myr._ There needed not the voice of Salemenes                     420
    To urge me on to this: I will not fail.
    All that a woman's weakness can----

    _Sal._                               Is power
    Omnipotent o'er such a heart as his:
    Exert it wisely.                                    [_Exit_ SALEMENES.

    _Sar._           Myrrha! what, at whispers
    With my stern brother? I shall soon be jealous.

    _Myr._ (_smiling_).
    You have cause, Sire; for on the earth there breathes not
    A man more worthy of a woman's love,
    A soldier's trust, a subject's reverence,
    A king's esteem--the whole world's admiration!

    _Sar._ Praise him, but not so warmly. I must not                   430
    Hear those sweet lips grow eloquent in aught
    That throws me into shade; yet you speak truth.

    _Myr._ And now retire, to have your wound looked to,
    Pray lean on me.

    _Sar._          Yes, love! but not from pain.
                                                          [_Exeunt omnes_.

                                 ACT IV.

            SCENE I.--SARDANAPALUS _discovered sleeping upon a
            Couch, and occasionally disturbed in his slumbers,
                         with_ MYRRHA _watching_.

    _Myr._ (_sola, gazing_).
    I have stolen upon his rest, if rest it be,
    Which thus convulses slumber: shall I wake him?
    No, he seems calmer. Oh, thou God of Quiet!
    Whose reign is o'er sealed eyelids and soft dreams,
    Or deep, deep sleep, so as to be unfathomed,
    Look like thy brother, Death,[23]--so still, so stirless--
    For then we are happiest, as it may be, we
    Are happiest of all within the realm
    Of thy stern, silent, and unwakening Twin.
    Again he moves--again the play of pain                              10
    Shoots o'er his features, as the sudden gust
    Crisps the reluctant lake that lay so calm[ac]
    Beneath the mountain shadow; or the blast
    Ruffles the autumn leaves, that drooping cling
    Faintly and motionless to their loved boughs.
    I must awake him--yet not yet; who knows
    From what I rouse him? It seems pain; but if
    I quicken him to heavier pain? The fever
    Of this tumultuous night, the grief too of
    His wound, though slight, may cause all this, and shake            20
    Me more to see than him to suffer. No:
    Let Nature use her own maternal means,
    And I await to second, not disturb her.

    _Sar._ (_awakening_).
    Not so--although he multiplied the stars,
    And gave them to me as a realm to share
    From you and with you! I would not so purchase
    The empire of Eternity. Hence--hence--
    Old Hunter of the earliest brutes! and ye,[ad]
    Who hunted fellow-creatures as if brutes!
    Once bloody mortals--and now bloodier idols,                        30
    If your priests lie not! And thou, ghastly Beldame!
    Dripping with dusky gore, and trampling on
    The carcasses of Inde--away! away!
    Where am I? Where the spectres? Where--No--that
    Is no false phantom: I should know it 'midst
    All that the dead dare gloomily raise up
    From their black gulf to daunt the living. Myrrha!

    _Myr._ Alas! thou art pale, and on thy brow the drops
    Gather like night dew. My beloved, hush--
    Calm thee. Thy speech seems of another world,                       40
    And thou art lord of this. Be of good cheer;
    All will go well.

    _Sar._            Thy _hand_--so--'tis thy hand;
    'Tis flesh; grasp--clasp--yet closer, till I feel
    Myself that which I was.

    _Myr._                   At least know me
    For what I am, and ever must be--thine.

    _Sar._ I know it now. I know this life again.
    Ah, Myrrha! I have been where we shall be.

    _Myr._ My lord!

    _Sar._          I've been i' the grave--where worms are lords
    And kings are----But I did not deem it so;
    I thought 'twas nothing.

    _Myr._                   So it is; except                           50
    Unto the timid, who anticipate
    That which may never be.

    _Sar._                   Oh, Myrrha! if
    Sleep shows such things, what may not Death disclose?

    _Myr._ I know no evil Death can show, which Life
    Has not already shown to those who live
    Embodied longest. If there be indeed
    A shore where Mind survives, 'twill be as Mind
    All unincorporate: or if there flits
    A shadow of this cumbrous clog of clay.
    Which stalks, methinks, between our souls and heaven,               60
    And fetters us to earth--at least the phantom,
    Whate'er it have to fear, will not fear Death.

    _Sar._ I fear it not; but I have felt--have seen--
    A legion of the dead.

    _Myr._                And so have I.
    The dust we tread upon was once alive,
    And wretched. But proceed: what hast thou seen?
    Speak it, 'twill lighten thy dimmed mind.

    _Sar._                                    Methought----

    _Myr._ Yet pause, thou art tired--in pain--exhausted; all
    Which can impair both strength and spirit: seek
    Rather to sleep again.

    _Sar._                 Not now--I would not                         70
    Dream; though I know it now to be a dream
    What I have dreamt:--and canst thou bear to hear it?

    _Myr._ I can bear all things, dreams of life or death,
    Which I participate with you in semblance
    Or full reality.

    _Sar._           And this looked real,
    I tell you: after that these eyes were open,
    I saw them in their flight--for then they fled.

    _Myr._ Say on.

    _Sar._           I saw, that is, I dreamed myself
    Here--here--even where we are, guests as we were,
    Myself a host that deemed himself but guest,                        80
    Willing to equal all in social freedom;
    But, on my right hand and my left, instead
    Of thee and Zames, and our customed meeting,
    Was ranged on my left hand a haughty, dark,
    And deadly face; I could not recognise it,
    Yet I had seen it, though I knew not where:
    The features were a Giant's, and the eye
    Was still, yet lighted; his long locks curled down
    On his vast bust, whence a huge quiver rose
    With shaft-heads feathered from the eagle's wing,                   90
    That peeped up bristling through his serpent hair.[ae]
    I invited him to fill the cup which stood
    Between us, but he answered not; I filled it;
    He took it not, but stared upon me, till
    I trembled at the fixed glare of his eye:
    I frowned upon him as a king should frown;
    He frowned not in his turn, but looked upon me
    With the same aspect, which appalled me more,
    Because it changed not; and I turned for refuge
    To milder guests, and sought them on the right,                    100
    Where thou wert wont to be. But----                      [_He pauses_.

    _Myr._                           What instead?

    _Sar._ In thy own chair--thy own place in the banquet--
    I sought thy sweet face in the circle--but
    Instead--a grey-haired, withered, bloody-eyed,
    And bloody-handed, ghastly, ghostly thing,
    Female in garb, and crowned upon the brow,
    Furrowed with years, yet sneering with the passion
    Of vengeance, leering too with that of lust,
    Sate:--my veins curdled.[24]

    _Myr._                Is this all?

    _Sar._                              Upon
    Her right hand--her lank, bird-like, right hand--stood             110
    A goblet, bubbling o'er with blood; and on
    Her left, another, filled with--what I saw not,
    But turned from it and her. But all along
    The table sate a range of crowned wretches,
    Of various aspects, but of one expression.

    _Myr._ And felt you not this a mere vision?

    _Sar._                                        No:
    It was so palpable, I could have touched them.
    I turned from one face to another, in
    The hope to find at last one which I knew
    Ere I saw theirs: but no--all turned upon me,                      120
    And stared, but neither ate nor drank, but stared,
    Till I grew stone, as they seemed half to be,
    Yet breathing stone, for I felt life in them,
    And life in me: there was a horrid kind
    Of sympathy between us, as if they
    Had lost a part of death to come to me,
    And I the half of life to sit by them.
    We were in an existence all apart
    From heaven or earth----And rather let me see
    Death all than such a being!

    _Myr._                       And the end?                          130

    _Sar._ At last I sate, marble, as they, when rose
    The Hunter and the Crone; and smiling on me--
    Yes, the enlarged but noble aspect of
    The Hunter smiled upon me--I should say,
    His lips, for his eyes moved not--and the woman's
    Thin lips relaxed to something like a smile.
    Both rose, and the crowned figures on each hand
    Rose also, as if aping their chief shades--
    Mere mimics even in death--but I sate still:
    A desperate courage crept through every limb,                      140
    And at the last I feared them not, but laughed
    Full in their phantom faces. But then--then
    The Hunter laid his hand on mine: I took it,
    And grasped it--but it melted from my own;
    While he too vanished, and left nothing but
    The memory of a hero, for he looked so.

    _Myr._ And was: the ancestor of heroes, too,
    And thine no less.

    _Sar._             Aye, Myrrha, but the woman,
    The female who remained, she flew upon me,
    And burnt my lips up with her noisome kisses;                      150
    And, flinging down the goblets on each hand,
    Methought their poisons flowed around us, till
    Each formed a hideous river. Still she clung;
    The other phantoms, like a row of statues,
    Stood dull as in our temples, but she still
    Embraced me, while I shrunk from her, as if,
    In lieu of her remote descendant, I
    Had been the son who slew her for her incest.[25]
    Then--then--a chaos of all loathsome things
    Thronged thick and shapeless: I was dead, yet feeling--            160
    Buried, and raised again--consumed by worms,
    Purged by the flames, and withered in the air!
    I can fix nothing further of my thoughts,
    Save that I longed for thee, and sought for thee,
    In all these agonies,--and woke and found thee.

    _Myr._ So shalt thou find me ever at thy side,
    Here and hereafter, if the last may be.
    But think not of these things--the mere creations
    Of late events, acting upon a frame
    Unused by toil, yet over-wrought by toil--                         170
    Such as might try the sternest.

    _Sar._                          I am better.
    Now that I see thee once more, _what was seen_
    Seems nothing.

                            _Enter_ SALEMENES.

    _Sal._             Is the king so soon awake?

    _Sar._ Yes, brother, and I would I had not slept;
    For all the predecessors of our line
    Rose up, methought, to drag me down to them.
    My father was amongst them, too; but he,
    I know not why, kept from me, leaving me
    Between the hunter-founder of our race,
    And her, the homicide and husband-killer,                          180
    Whom you call glorious.

    _Sal._                  So I term you also,
    Now you have shown a spirit like to hers.
    By day-break I propose that we set forth,
    And charge once more the rebel crew, who still
    Keep gathering head, repulsed, but not quite quelled.

    _Sar._ How wears the night?

    _Sal._                     There yet remain some hours
    Of darkness: use them for your further rest.

    _Sar._ No, not to-night, if 'tis not gone: methought
    I passed hours in that vision.

    _Myr._                         Scarcely one;
    I watched by you: it was a heavy hour,                             190
    But an hour only.

    _Sar._             Let us then hold council;
    To-morrow we set forth.

    _Sal._                 But ere that time,
    I had a grace to seek.

    _Sar._                'Tis granted.

    _Sal._                             Hear it
    Ere you reply too readily; and 'tis
    For _your_ ear only.

    _Myr._              Prince, I take my leave.
                                                             [Exit MYRRHA.

    _Sal._ That slave deserves her freedom.

    _Sar._                                 Freedom only!
    That slave deserves to share a throne.

    _Sal._                                 Your patience--
    'Tis not yet vacant, and 'tis of its partner
    I come to speak with you.

    _Sar._                   How! of the Queen?

    _Sal._ Even so. I judged it fitting for their safety,              200
    That, ere the dawn, she sets forth with her children
    For Paphlagonia, where our kinsman Cotta[26]
    Governs; and there, at all events, secure
    My nephews and your sons their lives, and with them
    Their just pretensions to the crown in case----

    _Sar._ I perish--as is probable: well thought--
    Let them set forth with a sure escort.

    _Sal._                                That
    Is all provided, and the galley ready
    To drop down the Euphrates; but ere they
    Depart, will you not see----

    _Sar._                       My sons? It may                       210
    Unman my heart, and the poor boys will weep;
    And what can I reply to comfort them,
    Save with some hollow hopes, and ill-worn smiles?
    You know I cannot feign.

    _Sal._                  But you can feel!
    At least, I trust so: in a word, the Queen
    Requests to see you ere you part--for ever.

    _Sar._ Unto what end? what purpose? I will grant
    Aught--all that she can ask--but such a meeting.

    _Sal._ You know, or ought to know, enough of women,
    Since you have studied them so steadily[af],                       220
    That what they ask in aught that touches on
    The heart, is dearer to their feelings or
    Their fancy, than the whole external world.
    I think as you do of my sister's wish;
    But 'twas her wish--she is my sister--you
    Her husband--will you grant it?

    _Sar._                         'Twill be useless:
    But let her come.

    _Sal._            I go.                             [_Exit_ SALEMENES.

    _Sar._                 We have lived asunder
    Too long to meet again--and _now_ to meet!
    Have I not cares enow, and pangs enow,
    To bear alone, that we must mingle sorrows,                        230
    Who have ceased to mingle love?

                    _Re-enter_ SALEMENES _and_ ZARINA.

    _Sal._                          My sister! Courage:
    Shame not our blood with trembling, but remember
    From whence we sprung. The Queen is present, Sire.

    _Zar._ I pray thee, brother, leave me.

    _Sal._                                Since you ask it.
                                                        [_Exit_ SALEMENES.

    _Zar._ Alone with him! How many a year has passed[27],
    Though we are still so young, since we have met,
    Which I have worn in widowhood of heart.
    He loved me not: yet he seems little changed--
    Changed to me only--would the change were mutual!
    He speaks not--scarce regards me--not a word,                      240
    Nor look--yet he _was_ soft of voice and aspect,
    Indifferent, not austere. My Lord!

    _Sar._                            Zarina!

    _Zar._ No, _not_ Zarina--do not say Zarina.
    That tone--That word--annihilate long years,
    And things which make them longer.

    _Sar._                             'Tis too late
    To think of these past dreams. Let's not reproach--
    That is, reproach me not--for the _last_ time----

    _Zar._ And _first_, I ne'er reproached you.

    _Sar._                                     'Tis most true;
    And that reproof comes heavier on my heart
    Than----But our hearts are not in our own power.                  250

    _Zar._ Nor hands; but I gave both.

    _Sar._                            Your brother said
    It was your will to see me, ere you went
    From Nineveh with----(_He hesitates_.)

    _Zar._               Our children: it is true.
    I wish to thank you that you have not divided
    My heart from all that's left it now to love--
    Those who are yours and mine, who look like you,
    And look upon me as you looked upon me
    Once----but _they_ have not changed.

    _Sar._                                Nor ever will.
    I fain would have them dutiful.

    _Zar._                         I cherish
    Those infants, not alone from the blind love                       260
    Of a fond mother, but as a fond woman.
    They are now the only tie between us.

    _Sar._                               Deem not
    I have not done you justice: rather make them
    Resemble your own line than their own Sire.
    I trust them with you--to you: fit them for
    A throne, or, if that be denied----You have heard
    Of this night's tumults?

    _Zar._                  I had half forgotten,
    And could have welcomed any grief save yours,
    Which gave me to behold your face again.

    _Sar._ The throne--I say it not in fear--but 'tis                  270
    In peril: they perhaps may never mount it:
    But let them not for this lose sight of it.
    I will dare all things to bequeath it them;
    But if I fail, then they must win it back
    Bravely--and, won, wear it wisely, not as I[ag]
    Have wasted down my royalty.

    _Zar._                      They ne'er
    Shall know from me of aught but what may honour
    Their father's memory.

    _Sar._                 Rather let them hear
    The truth from you than from a trampling world.
    If they be in adversity, they'll learn                             280
    Too soon the scorn of crowds for crownless Princes,
    And find that all their father's sins are theirs.
    My boys!--I could have borne it were I childless.

    _Zar._ Oh! do not say so--do not poison all
    My peace left, by unwishing that thou wert
    A father. If thou conquerest, they shall reign,
    And honour him who saved the realm for them,
    So little cared for as his own; and if----

    _Sar._ 'Tis lost, all Earth will cry out, "thank your father!"
    And they will swell the echo with a curse.                         290

    _Zar._ That they shall never do; but rather honour
    The name of him, who, dying like a king,
    In his last hours did more for his own memory
    Than many monarchs in a length of days,
    Which date the flight of time, but make no annals.

    _Sar._ Our annals draw perchance unto their close;
    But at the least, whate'er the past, their end
    Shall be like their beginning--memorable.

    _Zar._ Yet, be not rash--be careful of your life,
    Live but for those who love.

    _Sar._                       And who are they?                     300
    A slave, who loves from passion--I'll not say
    Ambition--she has seen thrones shake, and loves;
    A few friends who have revelled till we are
    As one, for they are nothing if I fall;
    A brother I have injured--children whom
    I have neglected, and a spouse----

    _Zar._                             Who loves.

    _Sar._ And pardons?

    _Zar._               I have never thought of this,
    And cannot pardon till I have condemned.

    _Sar._ My wife!

    _Zar._          Now blessings on thee for that word!
    I never thought to hear it more--from thee.                        310

    _Sar._ Oh! thou wilt hear it from my subjects. Yes--
    These slaves whom I have nurtured, pampered, fed,
    And swoln with peace, and gorged with plenty, till
    They reign themselves--all monarchs in their mansions--
    Now swarm forth in rebellion, and demand
    His death, who made their lives a jubilee;
    While the few upon whom I have no claim
    Are faithful! This is true, yet monstrous.

    _Zar._                                    'Tis
    Perhaps too natural; for benefits
    Turn poison in bad minds.

    _Sar._                    And good ones make                       320
    Good out of evil. Happier than the bee,
    Which hives not but from wholesome flowers.

    _Zar._                                     Then reap
    The honey, nor inquire whence 'tis derived.
    Be satisfied--you are not all abandoned.

    _Sar._ My life insures me that. How long, bethink you,
    Were not I yet a king, should I be mortal;
    That is, where mortals _are_, not where they must be?

    _Zar._ I know not. But yet live for my--that is,
    Your children's sake!

    _Sar._                My gentle, wronged Zarina!
    I am the very slave of Circumstance                                330
    And Impulse--borne away with every breath!
    Misplaced upon the throne--misplaced in life.
    I know not what I could have been, but feel
    I am not what I should be--let it end.
    But take this with thee: if I was not formed
    To prize a love like thine, a mind like thine,
    Nor dote even on thy beauty--as I've doted
    On lesser charms, for no cause save that such
    Devotion was a duty, and I hated
    All that looked like a chain for me or others                      340
    (This even Rebellion must avouch); yet hear
    These words, perhaps among my last--that none
    E'er valued more thy virtues, though he knew not
    To profit by them--as the miner lights
    Upon a vein of virgin ore, discovering
    That which avails him nothing: he hath found it,
    But 'tis not his--but some superior's, who
    Placed him to dig, but not divide the wealth
    Which sparkles at his feet; nor dare he lift
    Nor poise it, but must grovel on, upturning                        350
    The sullen earth.

    _Zar._            Oh! if thou hast at length
    Discovered that my love is worth esteem,
    I ask no more--but let us hence together,
    And _I_--let me say _we_--shall yet be happy.
    Assyria is not all the earth--we'll find
    A world out of our own--and be more blessed
    Than I have ever been, or thou, with all
    An empire to indulge thee.

                            _Enter_ SALEMENES.

    _Sal._                    I must part ye--
    The moments, which must not be lost, are passing.

    _Zar._ Inhuman brother! wilt thou thus weigh out                   360
    Instants so high and blest?

    _Sal._                      Blest!

    _Zar._                             He hath been
    So gentle with me, that I cannot think
    Of quitting.

    _Sal._       So--this feminine farewell
    Ends as such partings end, in _no_ departure.
    I thought as much, and yielded against all
    My better bodings. But it must not be.

    _Zar._ Not be?

    _Sal._         Remain, and perish----

    _Zar._                               With my husband----

    _Sal._ And children.

    _Zar._                Alas!

    _Sal._                       Hear me, sister, like
    _My_ sister:--all's prepared to make your safety
    Certain, and of the boys too, our last hopes;                      370
    'Tis not a single question of mere feeling,
    Though that were much--but 'tis a point of state:
    The rebels would do more to seize upon
    The offspring of their sovereign, and so crush----

    _Zar._ Ah! do not name it.

    _Sal._                      Well, then, mark me: when
    They are safe beyond the Median's grasp, the rebels
    Have missed their chief aim--the extinction of
    The line of Nimrod. Though the present King
    Fall, his sons live--for victory and vengeance.

    _Zar._ But could not I remain, alone?

    _Sal._                                What! leave                  380
    Your children, with two parents and yet orphans--
    In a strange land--so young, so distant?

    _Zar._                                   No--
    My heart will break.

    _Sal._               Now you know all--decide.

    _Sar._ Zarina, he hath spoken well, and we
    Must yield awhile to this necessity.
    Remaining here, you may lose all; departing,
    You save the better part of what is left,
    To both of us, and to such loyal hearts
    As yet beat in these kingdoms.

    _Sal._                         The time presses.

    _Sar._ Go, then. If e'er we meet again, perhaps                    390
    I may be worthier of you--and, if not,
    Remember that my faults, though not atoned for,
    Are _ended_. Yet, I dread thy nature will
    Grieve more above the blighted name and ashes
    Which once were mightiest in Assyria--than----
    But I grow womanish again, and must not;
    I must learn sternness now. My sins have all
    Been of the softer order----_hide_ thy tears--
    I do not bid thee _not_ to shed them--'twere
    Easier to stop Euphrates at its source                             400
    Than one tear of a true and tender heart--
    But let me not behold them; they unman me
    Here when I had remanned myself. My brother,
    Lead her away.

    _Zar._         Oh, God! I never shall
    Behold him more!

    _Sal._ (_striving to conduct her_).
                    Nay, sister, I _must_ be obeyed.

    _Zar._ I must remain--away! you shall not hold me.
    What, shall he die alone?--_I_ live alone?

    _Sal._ He shall _not die alone_; but lonely you
    Have lived for years.

    _Zar._                That's false! I knew _he_ lived,
    And lived upon his image--let me go!                               410

    _Sal._ (_conducting her off the stage_).
    Nay, then, I must use some fraternal force,
    Which you will pardon.

    _Zar._                 Never. Help me! Oh!
    Sardanapalus, wilt thou thus behold me
    Torn from thee?

    _Sal._          Nay--then all is lost again,
    If that this moment is not gained.

    _Zar._                             My brain turns--
    My eyes fail--where is he?                              [_She faints_.

    _Sar._ (_advancing_).     No--set her down;
    She's dead--and you have slain her.

    _Sal._                             'Tis the mere
    Faintness of o'erwrought passion: in the air
    She will recover. Pray, keep back.--[_Aside_.] I must
    Avail myself of this sole moment to                                420
    Bear her to where her children are embarked,
    I' the royal galley on the river.
                                               [SALEMENES _bears her off_.

    _Sar._ (_solus_).               This, too--
    And this too must I suffer--I, who never
    Inflicted purposely on human hearts
    A voluntary pang! But that is false--
    She loved me, and I loved her.--Fatal passion!
    Why dost thou not expire at _once_ in hearts
    Which thou hast lighted up at once? Zarina![ah]
    I must pay dearly for the desolation
    Now brought upon thee. Had I never loved                           430
    But thee, I should have been an unopposed
    Monarch of honouring nations. To what gulfs
    A single deviation from the track
    Of human duties leads even those who claim
    The homage of mankind as their born due,
    And find it, till they forfeit it themselves!

                             _Enter_ MYRRHA.

    _Sar._ _You_ here! Who called you?

    _Myr._                             No one--but I heard
    Far off a voice of wail and lamentation,
    And thought----

    _Sar._           It forms no portion of your duties
    To enter here till sought for.

    _Myr._                        Though I might,                      440
    Perhaps, recall some softer words of yours
    (Although they _too were chiding_), which reproved me,
    Because I ever dreaded to intrude;
    Resisting my own wish and your injunction
    To heed no time nor presence, but approach you
    Uncalled for:--I retire.

    _Sar._                   Yet stay--being here.
    I pray you pardon me: events have soured me
    Till I wax peevish--heed it not: I shall
    Soon be myself again.

    _Myr._                I wait with patience,
    What I shall see with pleasure.

    _Sar._                          Scarce a moment                    450
    Before your entrance in this hall, Zarina,
    Queen of Assyria, departed hence.

    _Myr._ Ah!

    _Sar._     Wherefore do you start?

    _Myr._                             Did I do so?

    _Sar._ 'Twas well you entered by another portal,
    Else you had met. That pang at least is spared her!

    _Myr._ I know to feel for her.

    _Sar._                          That is too much,
    And beyond nature--'tis nor mutual[ai]
    Nor possible. You cannot pity her,
    Nor she aught but----

    _Myr._                Despise the favourite slave?
    Not more than I have ever scorned myself.                          460

    _Sar._ Scorned! what, to be the envy of your sex,
    And lord it o'er the heart of the World's lord?

    _Myr._ Were you the lord of twice ten thousand worlds--
    As you are like to lose the one you swayed--
    I did abase myself as much in being
    Your paramour, as though you were a peasant--
    Nay, more, if that the peasant were a Greek.

    _Sar._ You talk it well----

    _Myr._                      And truly.

    _Sar._                                In the hour
    Of man's adversity all things grow daring
    Against the falling; but as I am not                               470
    Quite fall'n, nor now disposed to bear reproaches,
    Perhaps because I merit them too often,
    Let us then part while peace is still between us.

    _Myr._ Part!

    _Sar._       Have not all past human beings parted,
    And must not all the present one day part?

    _Myr._ Why?

    _Sar._     For your safety, which I will have looked to,
    With a strong escort to your native land;
    And such gifts, as, if you had not been all
    A Queen, shall make your dowry worth a kingdom.

    _Myr._ I pray you talk not thus.

    _Sar._                          The Queen is gone:                 480
    You need not shame to follow. I would fall
    Alone--I seek no partners but in pleasure.

    _Myr._ And I no pleasure but in parting not.
    You shall not force me from you.

    _Sar._                           Think well of it--
    It soon may be too late.

    _Myr._                   So let it be;
    For then you cannot separate me from you.

    _Sar._ And will not; but I thought you wished it.

    _Myr._                                             I!

    _Sar._ You spoke of your abasement.

    _Myr._                              And I feel it
    Deeply--more deeply than all things but love.

    _Sar._ Then fly from it.

    _Myr._                  'Twill not recall the past--               490
    'Twill not restore my honour, nor my heart.
    No--here I stand or fall. If that you conquer,
    I live to joy in your great triumph: should
    Your lot be different, I'll not weep, but share it.
    You did not doubt me a few hours ago.

    _Sar._ Your courage never--nor your love till now;
    And none could make me doubt it save yourself.
    Those words----

    _Myr._            Were words. I pray you, let the proofs
    Be in the past acts you were pleased to praise
    This very night, and in my further bearing,                        500
    Beside, wherever you are borne by fate.

    _Sar._ I am content: and, trusting in my cause,
    Think we may yet be victors and return
    To peace--the only victory I covet.
    To me war is no glory--conquest no
    Renown. To be forced thus to uphold my right
    Sits heavier on my heart than all the wrongs[aj]
    These men would bow me down with. Never, never
    Can I forget this night, even should I live
    To add it to the memory of others.                                 510
    I thought to have made mine inoffensive rule
    An era of sweet peace 'midst bloody annals,
    A green spot amidst desert centuries,
    On which the Future would turn back and smile,
    And cultivate, or sigh when it could not
    Recall Sardanapalus' golden reign.
    I thought to have made my realm a paradise,
    And every moon an epoch of new pleasures.
    I took the rabble's shouts for love--the breath
    Of friends for truth--the lips of woman for                        520
    My only guerdon--so they are, my Myrrha:             [_He kisses her_.
    Kiss me. Now let them take my realm and life!
    They shall have both, but never _thee!_

    _Myr._                                 No, never!
    Man may despoil his brother man of all
    That's great or glittering--kingdoms fall, hosts yield,
    Friends fail--slaves fly--and all betray--and, more
    Than all, the most indebted--but a heart
    That loves without self-love! 'Tis here--now prove it.

                            _Enter_ SALEMENES.

    _Sal._ I sought you--How! _she_ here again?

    _Sar._                                     Return not
    _Now_ to reproof: methinks your aspect speaks                      530
    Of higher matter than a woman's presence.

    _Sal._ The only woman whom it much imports me
    At such a moment now is safe in absence--
    The Queen's embarked.

    _Sar._                And well? say that much.

    _Sal._                                         Yes.
    Her transient weakness has passed o'er; at least,
    It settled into tearless silence: her
    Pale face and glittering eye, after a glance
    Upon her sleeping children, were still fixed
    Upon the palace towers as the swift galley
    Stole down the hurrying stream beneath the starlight;              540
    But she said nothing.

    _Sar._                Would I felt no more
    Than she has said!

    _Sal._             'Tis now too late to feel.
    Your feelings cannot cancel a sole pang:
    To change them, my advices bring sure tidings
    That the rebellious Medes and Chaldees, marshalled
    By their two leaders, are already up
    In arms again; and, serrying their ranks,
    Prepare to attack: they have apparently
    Been joined by other Satraps.

    _Sar._                        What! more rebels?
    Let us be first, then.

    _Sal._                 That were hardly prudent                    550
    Now, though it was our first intention. If
    By noon to-morrow we are joined by those
    I've sent for by sure messengers, we shall be
    In strength enough to venture an attack,
    Aye, and pursuit too; but, till then, my voice
    Is to await the onset.

    _Sar._                 I detest
    That waiting; though it seems so safe to fight
    Behind high walls, and hurl down foes into
    Deep fosses, or behold them sprawl on spikes
    Strewed to receive them, still I like it not--                     560
    My soul seems lukewarm; but when I set on them,
    Though they were piled on mountains, I would have
    A pluck at them, or perish in hot blood!--
    Let me then charge.

    _Sal._ You talk like a young soldier.

    _Sar._ I am no soldier, but a man: speak not
    Of soldiership, I loathe the word, and those
    Who pride themselves upon it; but direct me
    Where I may pour upon them.

    _Sal._                     You must spare
    To expose your life too hastily; 'tis not
    Like mine or any other subject's breath:                           570
    The whole war turns upon it--with it; this
    Alone creates it, kindles, and may quench it--
    Prolong it--end it.

    _Sar._             Then let us end both!
    'Twere better thus, perhaps, than prolong either;
    I'm sick of one, perchance of both.
                                              [_A trumpet sounds without_.

    _Sal._                             Hark!

    _Sar._                                  Let us
    Reply, not listen.

    _Sal._             And your wound!

    _Sar._                            'Tis bound--
    'Tis healed--I had forgotten it. Away!
    A leech's lancet would have scratched me deeper;[ak]
    The slave that gave it might be well ashamed
    To have struck so weakly.

    _Sal._                   Now, may none this hour                   580
    Strike with a better aim!

    _Sar._                    Aye, if we conquer;
    But if not, they will only leave to me
    A task they might have spared their king. Upon them!
                                                  [_Trumpet sounds again_.

    _Sal._ I am with you.

    _Sar._               Ho, my arms! again, my arms!

                                  ACT V.

                 SCENE I.-_The same Hall in the Palace_.

                           MYRRHA _and_ BALEA.

    _Myr._ (_at a window_)[28]
    The day at last has broken. What a night
    Hath ushered it! How beautiful in heaven!
    Though varied with a transitory storm,
    More beautiful in that variety!
    How hideous upon earth! where Peace and Hope,
    And Love and Revel, in an hour were trampled
    By human passions to a human chaos,
    Not yet resolved to separate elements--
    'Tis warring still! And can the sun so rise,
    So bright, so rolling back the clouds into                          10
    Vapours more lovely than the unclouded sky,
    With golden pinnacles, and snowy mountains,
    And billows purpler than the Ocean's, making
    In heaven a glorious mockery of the earth,
    So like we almost deem it permanent;
    So fleeting, we can scarcely call it aught
    Beyond a vision, 'tis so transiently
    Scattered along the eternal vault: and yet
    It dwells upon the soul, and soothes the soul,
    And blends itself into the soul, until                              20
    Sunrise and sunset form the haunted epoch
    Of Sorrow and of Love; which they who mark not,
    Know not the realms where those twin genii[al]
    (Who chasten and who purify our hearts,
    So that we would not change their sweet rebukes
    For all the boisterous joys that ever shook
    The air with clamour) build the palaces
    Where their fond votaries repose and breathe
    Briefly;--but in that brief cool calm inhale
    Enough of heaven to enable them to bear                             30
    The rest of common, heavy, human hours,
    And dream them through in placid sufferance,
    Though seemingly employed like all the rest
    Of toiling breathers in allotted tasks[am]
    Of pain or pleasure, _two_ names for _one_ feeling,
    Which our internal, restless agony
    Would vary in the sound, although the sense
    Escapes our highest efforts to be happy.

    _Bal._ You muse right calmly: and can you so watch
    The sunrise which may be our last?

    _Myr._                             It is                            40
    Therefore that I so watch it, and reproach
    Those eyes, which never may behold it more,
    For having looked upon it oft, too oft,
    Without the reverence and the rapture due
    To that which keeps all earth from being as fragile
    As I am in this form. Come, look upon it,
    The Chaldee's God, which, when I gaze upon,
    I grow almost a convert to your Baal.

    _Bal._ As now he reigns in heaven, so once on earth
    He swayed.

    _Myr._    He sways it now far more, then; never                     50
    Had earthly monarch half the power and glory
    Which centres in a single ray of his.

    _Bal._ Surely he is a God!

    _Myr._                      So we Greeks deem too;
    And yet I sometimes think that gorgeous orb
    Must rather be the abode of Gods than one
    Of the immortal sovereigns. Now he breaks
    Through all the clouds, and fills my eyes with light
    That shuts the world out. I can look no more.

    _Bal._ Hark! heard you not a sound?

    _Myr._                            No, 'twas mere fancy;
    They battle it beyond the wall, and not                             60
    As in late midnight conflict in the very
    Chambers: the palace has become a fortress
    Since that insidious hour; and here, within
    The very centre, girded by vast courts
    And regal halls of pyramid proportions,
    Which must be carried one by one before
    They penetrate to where they then arrived,
    We are as much shut in even from the sound
    Of peril as from glory.

    _Bal._                  But they reached
    Thus far before.

    _Myr._           Yes, by surprise, and were                         70
    Beat back by valour: now at once we have
    Courage and vigilance to guard us.

    _Bal._                              May they

    _Myr._    That is the prayer of many, and
    The dread of more: it is an anxious hour;
    I strive to keep it from my thoughts. Alas!
    How vainly!

    _Bal._      It is said the King's demeanour
    In the late action scarcely more appalled
    The rebels than astonished his true subjects.

    _Myr._ 'Tis easy to astonish or appal
    The vulgar mass which moulds a horde of slaves;                     80
    But he did bravely.

    _Bal._              Slew he not Beleses?
    I heard the soldiers say he struck him down.

    _Myr._ The wretch was overthrown, but rescued to
    Triumph, perhaps, o'er one who vanquished him
    In fight, as he had spared him in his peril;
    And by that heedless pity risked a crown.

    _Bal._                                    Hark!

    _Myr._ You are right; some steps approach, but slowly.

          _Enter Soldiers, bearing in_ SALEMENES _wounded, with
         a broken javelin in his side: they seat him upon one of
                the couches which furnish the Apartment_.

    _Myr._ Oh, Jove!

    _Bal._            Then all is over.

    _Sal._                              That is false.
    Hew down the slave who says so, if a soldier.

    _Myr._ Spare him--he's none: a mere court butterfly,                90
    That flutter in the pageant of a monarch.

    _Sal._ Let him live on, then.

    _Myr._                       So wilt thou, I trust.

    _Sal._ I fain would live this hour out, and the event,
    But doubt it. Wherefore did ye bear me here?

    _Sol._ By the King's order. When the javelin struck you,
    You fell and fainted: 'twas his strict command
    To bear you to this hall.

    _Sal._                    'Twas not ill done:
    For seeming slain in that cold dizzy trance,
    The sight might shake our soldiers--but--'tis vain,
    I feel it ebbing!

    _Myr._            Let me see the wound;                            100
    I am not quite skilless: in my native land
    'Tis part of our instruction. War being constant,
    We are nerved to look on such things.[an]

    _Sol._                               Best extract
    The javelin.

    _Myr._       Hold! no, no, it cannot be.

    _Sal._ I am sped, then!

    _Myr._                   With the blood that fast must follow
    The extracted weapon, I do fear thy life.

    _Sal._ And I _not_ death. Where was the King when you
    Conveyed me from the spot where I was stricken?

    _Sol._ Upon the same ground, and encouraging
    With voice and gesture the dispirited troops                       110
    Who had seen you fall, and faltered back.

    _Sal._                                    Whom heard ye
    Named next to the command?

    _Sol._                     I did not hear.

    _Sal._ Fly, then, and tell him, 'twas my last request
    That Zames take my post until the junction,
    So hoped for, yet delayed, of Ofratanes,
    Satrap of Susa. Leave me here: our troops
    Are not so numerous as to spare your absence.

    _Sol._ But Prince----

    _Sal._               Hence, I say! Here's a courtier and
    A woman, the best chamber company.
    As you would not permit me to expire                               120
    Upon the field, I'll have no idle soldiers
    About my sick couch. Hence! and do my bidding!
                                                   [_Exeunt the Soldiers_.

    _Myr._ Gallant and glorious Spirit! must the earth
    So soon resign thee?

    _Sal._               Gentle Myrrha, 'tis
    The end I would have chosen, had I saved
    The monarch or the monarchy by this;
    As 'tis, I have not outlived them.

    _Myr._                             You wax paler.

    _Sal._ Your hand; this broken weapon but prolongs
    My pangs, without sustaining life enough
    To make me useful: I would draw it forth                           130
    And my life with it, could I but hear how
    The fight goes.

                   _Enter_ SARDANAPALUS _and Soldiers_.

    _Sar._         My best brother!

    _Sal._                          And the battle
    Is lost?

    _Sar._ (_despondingly_). You see _me here_.

    _Sal._                                    I'd rather see you _thus!_
                      [_He draws out the weapon from the wound, and dies_.

    _Sar._ And _thus_ I will be seen; unless the succour,
    The last frail reed of our beleagured hopes,
    Arrive with Ofratanes.

    _Myr._                 Did you not
    Receive a token from your dying brother,
    Appointing Zames chief?

    _Sar._                  I did.

    _Myr._                        Where's Zames?

    _Sar._ Dead.

    _Myr._       And Altada?

    _Sar._                   Dying.

    _Myr._                          Pania? Sfero?

    _Sar._ Pania yet lives; but Sfero's fled or captive.               140
    I am alone.

    _Myr._      And is all lost?

    _Sar._                      Our walls,
    Though thinly manned, may still hold out against
    Their present force, or aught save treachery:
    But i' the field----

    _Myr._                I thought 'twas the intent
    Of Salemenes not to risk a sally
    Till ye were strengthened by the expected succours.

    _Sar._ _I_ over-ruled him.

    _Myr._                   Well, the _fault's_ a brave one.

    _Sar._ But fatal. Oh, my brother! I would give
    These realms, of which thou wert the ornament,
    The sword and shield, the sole-redeeming honour,                   150
    To call back----But I will not weep for thee;
    Thou shall be mourned for as thou wouldst be mourned.
    It grieves me most that thou couldst quit this life
    Believing that I could survive what thou
    Hast died for--our long royalty of race.
    If I redeem it, I will give thee blood
    Of thousands, tears of millions, for atonement,
    (The tears of all the good are thine already).
    If not, we meet again soon,--if the spirit
    Within us lives beyond:--thou readest mine,                        160
    And dost me justice now. Let me once clasp
    That yet warm hand, and fold that throbless heart
                                                     [_Embraces the body_.
    To this which beats so bitterly. Now, bear
    The body hence.

    _Sol._          Where?

    _Sar._              To my proper chamber.
    Place it beneath my canopy, as though
    The King lay there: when this is done, we will
    Speak further of the rites due to such ashes.
                            [_Exeunt Soldiers with the body of_ SALEMENES.

                              _Enter_ PANIA.

    _Sar._ Well, Pania! have you placed the guards, and issued
    The orders fixed on?

    _Pan._              Sire, I have obeyed.

    _Sar._ And do the soldiers keep their hearts up?

    _Pan._                                            Sire?            170

    _Sar._ I am answered! When a king asks twice, and has
    A question as an answer to _his_ question,
    It is a portent. What! they are disheartened?

    _Pan._ The death of Salemenes, and the shouts
    Of the exulting rebels on his fall,
    Have made them----

    _Sar._           _Rage_--not droop--it should have been.
    We'll find the means to rouse them.

    _Pan._                              Such a loss
    Might sadden even a victory.

    _Sar._                       Alas!
    Who can so feel it as I feel? but yet,
    Though cooped within these walls, they are strong, and we          180
    Have those without will break their way through hosts,
    To make their sovereign's dwelling what it was--
    A palace, not a prison--nor a fortress.

                       _Enter an Officer, hastily_.

    _Sar._ Thy face seems ominous. Speak!

    _Offi._                               I dare not.

    _Sar._                                           Dare not?
    While millions dare revolt with sword in hand!
    That's strange. I pray thee break that loyal silence
    Which loathes to shock its sovereign; we can hear
    Worse than thou hast to tell.

    _Pan._                        Proceed--thou hearest.

    _Offi._ The wall which skirted near the river's brink
    Is thrown down by the sudden inundation                            190
    Of the Euphrates, which now rolling, swoln
    From the enormous mountains where it rises,
    By the late rains of that tempestuous region,
    O'erfloods its banks, and hath destroyed the bulwark.

    _Pan._ That's a black augury! it has been said
    For ages, "That the City ne'er should yield
    To man, until the River grew its foe."

    _Sar._ I can forgive the omen, not the ravage.
    How much is swept down of the wall?

    _Offi._                             About
    Some twenty stadia.[29]

    _Sar._              And all this is left                          200
    Pervious to the assailants?

    _Offi._                     For the present
    The River's fury must impede the assault;
    But when he shrinks into his wonted channel,
    And may be crossed by the accustomed barks,
    The palace is their own.

    _Sar._                   That shall be never.
    Though men, and gods, and elements, and omens,
    Have risen up 'gainst one who ne'er provoked them,
    My father's house shall never be a cave
    For wolves to horde and howl in.

    _Pan._                           With your sanction,
    I will proceed to the spot, and take such measures                 210
    For the assurance of the vacant space
    As time and means permit.

    _Sar._                    About it straight,
    And bring me back, as speedily as full
    And fair investigation may permit,
    Report of the true state of this irruption
    Of waters.                          [_Exeunt_ PANIA _and the Officer_.

    _Myr._    Thus the very waves rise up
    Against you.

    _Sar._      They are not my subjects, girl,
    And may be pardoned, since they can't be punished.

    _Myr._ I joy to see this portent shakes you not.

    _Sar._ I am past the fear of portents: they can tell me            220
    Nothing I have not told myself since midnight:
    Despair anticipates such things.

    _Myr._                           Despair!

    _Sar._ No; not despair precisely. When we know
    All that can come, and how to meet it, our
    Resolves, if firm, may merit a more noble
    Word than this is to give it utterance.
    But what are words to us? we have well nigh done
    With them and all things.

    _Myr._                    Save _one deed_--the last
    And greatest to all mortals; crowning act
    Of all that was, or is, or is to be--                              230
    The only thing common to all mankind,
    So different in their births, tongues, sexes, natures,
    Hues, features, climes, times, feelings, intellects,[ao]
    Without one point of union save in this--
    To which we tend, for which we're born, and thread
    The labyrinth of mystery, called life.

    _Sar._ Our clue being well nigh wound out, let's be cheerful.
    They who have nothing more to fear may well
    Indulge a smile at that which once appalled;
    As children at discovered bugbears.

                            _Re-enter_ PANIA.

    _Pan._                              'Tis                           240
    As was reported: I have ordered there
    A double guard, withdrawing from the wall,
    Where it was strongest, the required addition
    To watch the breach occasioned by the waters.

    _Sar._ You have done your duty faithfully, and as
    My worthy Pania! further ties between us
    Draw near a close--I pray you take this key:
                                                           [_Gives a key_.
    It opens to a secret chamber, placed
    Behind the couch in my own chamber--(Now
    Pressed by a nobler weight than e'er it bore--                     250
    Though a long line of sovereigns have lain down
    Along its golden frame--as bearing for
    A time what late was Salemenes.)--Search
    The secret covert to which this will lead you;
    'Tis full of treasure;[30] take it for yourself
    And your companions:[ap] there's enough to load ye,
    Though ye be many. Let the slaves be freed, too;
    And all the inmates of the palace, of
    Whatever sex, now quit it in an hour.
    Thence launch the regal barks, once formed for pleasure,           260
    And now to serve for safety, and embark.
    The river's broad and swoln, and uncommanded,
    (More potent than a king) by these besiegers.
    Fly! and be happy!

    _Pan._             Under your protection!
    So you accompany your faithful guard.

    _Sar._ No, Pania! that must not be; get thee hence,
    And leave me to my fate.

    _Pan._                   'Tis the first time
    I ever disobeyed: but now----

    _Sar._                      So all men
    Dare beard me now, and Insolence within
    Apes Treason from without. Question no further;                    270
    'Tis my command, my last command. Wilt _thou_
    Oppose it? _thou!_

    _Pan._              But yet--not yet.

    _Sar._                               Well, then,
    Swear that you will obey when I shall give
    The signal.

    _Pan._     With a heavy but true heart,
    I promise.

    _Sar._      'Tis enough. Now order here
    Faggots, pine-nuts, and withered leaves, and such
    Things as catch fire and blaze with one sole spark;
    Bring cedar, too, and precious drugs, and spices,
    And mighty planks, to nourish a tall pile;
    Bring frankincense and myrrh, too, for it is                       280
    For a great sacrifice I build the pyre!
    And heap them round yon throne.

    _Pan._                          My Lord!

    _Sar._                                   I have said it,
    And _you_ have sworn.

    _Pan._               And could keep my faith
    Without a vow.                                          [_Exit_ PANIA.

    _Myr._        What mean you?

    _Sar._                      You shall know
    Anon--what the whole earth shall ne'er forget.

                    PANIA, _returning with a Herald_.

    _Pan._ My King, in going forth upon my duty,
    This herald has been brought before me, craving
    An audience.

    _Sar._      Let him speak.

    _Her._                     The _King_ Arbaces----

    _Sar._ What, crowned already?--But, proceed.

    _Her._                                       Beleses,
    The anointed High-priest----

    _Sar._                      Of what god or demon?                  290
    With new kings rise new altars. But, proceed;
    You are sent to prate your master's will, and not
    Reply to mine.

    _Her._        And Satrap Ofratanes----

    _Sar._ Why, _he_ is _ours_.

    _Her._ (_showing a ring_). Be sure that he is now
    In the camp of the conquerors; behold
    His signet ring.

    _Sar._          'Tis his. A worthy triad!
    Poor Salemenes! thou hast died in time
    To see one treachery the less: this man
    Was thy true friend and my most trusted subject.

    _Her._   They offer thee thy life, and freedom                     300
    Of choice to single out a residence
    In any of the further provinces,
    Guarded and watched, but not confined in person,
    Where thou shalt pass thy days in peace; but on
    Condition that the three young princes are
    Given up as hostages.

    _Sar._ (_ironically_). The generous Victors!

    _Her._ I wait the answer.

    _Sar._                    Answer, slave! How long
    Have slaves decided on the doom of kings?

    _Her._ Since they were free.

    _Sar._                       Mouthpiece of mutiny!
    Thou at the least shalt learn the penalty                          310
    Of treason, though its proxy only. Pania!
    Let his head be thrown from our walls within
    The rebels' lines, his carcass down the river.
    Away with him!                    [PANIA _and the Guards seizing him_.

    _Pan._        I never yet obeyed
    Your orders with more pleasure than the present.
    Hence with him, soldiers! do not soil this hall
    Of royalty with treasonable gore;
    Put him to rest without.

    _Her._                  A single word:
    My office, King, is sacred.

    _Sar._                     And what's _mine_?
    That thou shouldst come and dare to ask of me                      320
    To lay it down?

    _Her._         I but obeyed my orders,
    At the same peril if refused, as now
    Incurred by my obedience.

    _Sar._                   So there are
    New monarchs of an hour's growth as despotic
    As sovereigns swathed in purple, and enthroned
    From birth to manhood!

    _Her._                My life waits your breath.
    Yours (I speak humbly)--but it may be--yours
    May also be in danger scarce less imminent:
    Would it then suit the last hours of a line
    Such as is that of Nimrod, to destroy                              330
    A peaceful herald, unarmed, in his office;
    And violate not only all that man
    Holds sacred between man and man--but that
    More holy tie which links us with the Gods?

    _Sar._ He's right.--Let him go free.--My life's last act
    Shall not be one of wrath. Here, fellow, take
                              [_Gives him a golden cup from a table near_.
    This golden goblet, let it hold your wine,
    And think of _me_; or melt it into ingots,
    And think of nothing but their weight and value.

    _Her._ I thank you doubly for my life, and this                    340
    Most gorgeous gift, which renders it more precious.
    But must I bear no answer?

    _Sar._                    Yes,--I ask
    An hour's truce to consider.

    _Her._                      But an hour's?

    _Sar._ An hour's: if at the expiration of
    That time your masters hear no further from me,
    They are to deem that I reject their terms,
    And act befittingly.

    _Her._              I shall not fail
    To be a faithful legate of your pleasure.

    _Sar._ And hark! a word more.

    _Her._                        I shall not forget it,
    Whate'er it be.

    _Sar._         Commend me to Beleses;                              350
    And tell him, ere a year expire, I summon
    Him hence to meet me.

    _Her._               Where?

    _Sar._                     At Babylon.
    At least from thence he will depart to meet me.

    _Her._ I shall obey you to the letter.                 [_Exit Herald_.

    _Sar._                                Pania!--
    Now, my good Pania!--quick--with what I ordered.

    _Pan._ My Lord,--the soldiers are already charged.
    And see! they enter.

       _Soldiers enter, and form a Pile about the Throne, etc._[31]

    _Sar._             Higher, my good soldiers,
    And thicker yet; and see that the foundation
    Be such as will not speedily exhaust
    Its own too subtle flame; nor yet be quenched                      360
    With aught officious aid would bring to quell it.
    Let the throne form the _core_ of it; I would not
    Leave that, save fraught with fire unquenchable,
    To the new comers. Frame the whole as if
    'Twere to enkindle the strong tower of our
    Inveterate enemies. Now it bears an aspect!
    How say you, Pania, will this pile suffice
    For a King's obsequies?

    _Pan._                 Aye, for a kingdom's.
    I understand you, now.

    _Sar._                And blame me?

    _Pan._                             No--
    Let me but fire the pile, and share it with you.                   370

    _Myr._ That _duty's_ mine.

    _Pan._                    A woman's!

    _Myr._                              'Tis the soldier's
    Part to die _for_ his sovereign, and why not
    The woman's with her lover?

    _Pan._                     'Tis most strange!

    _Myr._ But not so rare, my Pania, as thou think'st it.
    In the mean time, live thou.--Farewell! the pile
    Is ready.

    _Pan._     I should shame to leave my sovereign
    With but a single female to partake
    His death.

    _Sar._     Too many far have heralded
    Me to the dust already. Get thee hence;
    Enrich thee.

    _Pan._      And live wretched!

    _Sar._                        Think upon                           380
    Thy vow:--'tis sacred and irrevocable.

    _Pan._ Since it is so, farewell.

    _Sar._                            Search well my chamber,
    Feel no remorse at bearing off the gold;
    Remember, what you leave you leave the slaves
    Who slew me: and when you have borne away
    All safe off to your boats, blow one long blast
    Upon the trumpet as you quit the palace.
    The river's brink is too remote, its stream
    Too loud at present to permit the echo
    To reach distinctly from its banks. Then fly,--                    390
    And as you sail, turn back; but still keep on
    Your way along the Euphrates: if you reach
    The land of Paphlagonia, where the Queen
    Is safe with my three sons in Cotta's court,
    Say what you _saw_ at parting, and request
    That she remember what I _said_ at one
    Parting more mournful still.

    _Pan._                      That royal hand!
    Let me then once more press it to my lips;
    And these poor soldiers who throng round you, and
    Would fain die with you!

                             [_The Soldiers and_ PANIA _throng round him,
                               kissing his hand and the hem of his robe_.

    _Sar._                    My best! my last friends!                400
    Let's not unman each other: part at once:
    All farewells should be sudden, when for ever,
    Else they make an eternity of moments,
    And clog the last sad sands of life with tears.
    Hence, and be happy: trust me, I am not
    _Now_ to be pitied; or far more for what
    Is past than present;--for the future, 'tis
    In the hands of the deities, if such
    There be: I shall know soon. Farewell--Farewell.
                                           [_Exeunt_ PANIA _and Soldiers_.

    _Myr._ These men were honest: it is comfort still                  410
    That our last looks should be on loving faces.

    _Sar._ And _lovely_ ones, my beautiful!--but hear me!
    If at this moment,--for we now are on
    The brink,--thou feel'st an inward shrinking from
    This leap through flame into the future, say it:
    I shall not love thee less; nay, perhaps more,
    For yielding to thy nature: and there's time
    Yet for thee to escape hence.

    _Myr._                      Shall I light
    One of the torches which lie heaped beneath
    The ever-burning lamp that burns without,                          420
    Before Baal's shrine, in the adjoining hall?

    _Sar._ Do so. Is that thy answer?

    _Myr._                             Thou shalt see.
                                                           [_Exit_ MYRRHA.

    _Sar._ (_solus_). She's firm. My fathers! whom I will rejoin,
    It may be, purified by death from some
    Of the gross stains of too material being,
    I would not leave your ancient first abode
    To the defilement of usurping bondmen;
    If I have not kept your inheritance
    As ye bequeathed it, this bright part of it,
    Your treasure--your abode--your sacred relics                      430
    Of arms, and records--monuments, and spoils,
    In which _they_ would have revelled, I bear with me
    To you in that absorbing element,
    Which most personifies the soul as leaving
    The least of matter unconsumed before
    Its fiery workings:--and the light of this
    Most royal of funereal pyres shall be[aq]
    Not a mere pillar formed of cloud and flame,
    A beacon in the horizon for a day,
    And then a mount of ashes--but a light[ar]                         440
    To lesson ages, rebel nations, and
    Voluptuous princes. Time shall quench full many
    A people's records, and a hero's acts;
    Sweep empire after empire, like this first
    Of empires, into nothing; but even then
    Shall spare this deed of mine, and hold it up
    A problem few dare imitate, and none
    Despise--but, it may be, avoid the life
    Which led to such a consummation.

            MYRRHA _returns with a lighted Torch in one Hand,
                         and a Cup in the other_.

    _Myr._                           Lo!
    I've lit the lamp which lights us to the stars.                    450

    _Sar._ And the cup?

    _Myr._              'Tis my country's custom to
    Make a libation to the Gods.

    _Sar._                     And mine
    To make libations amongst men. I've not
    Forgot the custom; and although alone,
    Will drain one draught in memory of many
    A joyous banquet past.

                        [SARDANAPALUS _takes the cup, and after drinking
                         and tinkling the reversed cup, as a drop falls,

                           And this libation
    Is for the excellent Beleses.

    _Myr._                       Why
    Dwells thy mind rather upon that man's name
    Than on his mate's in villany?

    _Sar._                        The other
    Is a mere soldier, a mere tool, a kind                             460
    Of human sword in a friend's hand; the other
    Is master-mover of his warlike puppet;
    But I dismiss them from my mind.--Yet pause,
    My Myrrha! dost thou truly follow me,
    Freely and fearlessly?

    _Myr._                And dost thou think
    A Greek girl dare not do for love, that which
    An Indian widow braves for custom?[as]

    _Sar._                                Then
    We but await the signal.

    _Myr._                  It is long
    In sounding.

    _Sar._      Now, farewell; one last embrace.

    _Myr._ Embrace, but _not_ the last; there is one more.             470

    _Sar._ True, the commingling fire will mix our ashes.

    _Myr._ And pure as is my love to thee, shall they,
    Purged from the dross of earth, and earthly passion,
    Mix pale with thine. A single thought yet irks me.

    _Sar._ Say it.

    _Myr._         It is that no kind hand will gather
    The dust of both into one urn.

    _Sar._                     The better:
    Rather let them be borne abroad upon
    The winds of heaven, and scattered into air,
    Than be polluted more by human hands
    Of slaves and traitors. In this blazing palace,                    480
    And its enormous walls of reeking ruin,
    We leave a nobler monument than Egypt
    Hath piled in her brick mountains, o'er dead kings,[32]
    Or _kine_--for none know whether those proud piles
    Be for their monarch, or their ox-god Apis:
    So much for monuments that have forgotten
    Their very record!

    _Myr._            Then farewell, thou earth!
    And loveliest spot of earth! farewell, Ionia!
    Be thou still free and beautiful, and far
    Aloof from desolation! My last prayer                              490
    Was for thee, my last thoughts, save _one_, were of thee!

    _Sar._ And that?

    _Myr._          Is yours.
                                 [_The trumpet of_ PANIA _sounds without_.

    _Sar._                   Hark!

    _Myr._                        _Now_!

    _Sar._                               Adieu, Assyria!
    I loved thee well, my own, my fathers' land,
    And better as my country than my kingdom.
    I sated thee with peace and joys; and this
    Is my reward! and now I owe thee nothing,
    Not even a grave.                               [_He mounts the pile_.
                     Now, Myrrha!

    _Myr._                      Art thou ready?

    _Sar._ As the torch in thy grasp.
                                                 [MYRRHA _fires the pile_.

    _Myr._                           'Tis fired! I come.

                      [_As_ MYRRHA _springs forward to throw herself into
                                the flames, the Curtain falls_.[33]


[1] {4}[For a description of the fall of Nineveh, see _Nahum_ ii. 1,
sqq.--"He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face.... The
shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet....
The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against
another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run
like the lightnings. He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble
in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the
defence shall be prepared. The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and
the palace shall be dissolved," etc.]

[2] {7}["A manuscript dedication of _Sardanapalus_ ... was forwarded to
him, with an obliging inquiry whether it might be prefixed to the
tragedy. The German, who, at his advanced age, was conscious of his own
powers, and of their effects, could only gratefully and modestly
consider this Dedication as the expression of an inexhaustible
intellect, deeply feeling and creating its own object. He was by no
means dissatisfied when, after long delay, _Sardanapalus_ appeared
without the Dedication; and was made happy by the possession of a
facsimile of it, engraved on stone, which he considered a precious
memorial."--_Lebensverhaeltnik zu Byron_, _Werke_, 1833, xlvi. 221-225.
(See, too, for translation, _Life_, p. 593.)]

[3] {9}[_Sardanapalus_ originally appeared in the same volume with _The
Two Foscari_ and _Cain_. The date of publication was December 19, 1821.]

[4] {10}["Sardanapalus, the Thirtieth from Ninus, and the last King of
the Assyrians, exceeded all his Predecessors in Sloth and Luxury; for
besides that he was seen of none out of his family, he led a most
effeminate life: for wallowing in Pleasure and wanton Dalliances, he
cloathed himself in Womens' attire, and spun fine Wool and Purple
amongst the throngs of his Whores and Concubines. He painted likewise
his Face, and decked his whole Body with other Allurements.... He
imitated likewise a Woman's voice...; and proceeded to such a degree of
voluptuousness that he composed verses for his Epitaph ... which were
thus translated by a Grecian out of the Barbarian language--

    Tau~t' e)/cho o(/s' e)/phagon kai\ e)phy/brisa, kai\ met' e)/rotos
    Te/rpn' e)/pathon' ta\ de\ polla\ kai\ o)/lbia kei~na le/leiptai.]

    "What once I gorged I now enjoy,
    And wanton Lusts me still employ;
    All other things by Mortals prized
    Are left as dirt by me despised."

--_The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian_, made English by G.
Booth, of the City of Chester, Esquire, 1700, p. 65.

"Another king of the sort was Sardanapalus.... And so, when Arbaces, who
was one of the generals under him, a Mede by birth, endeavoured to
manage by the assistance of one of the eunuchs, whose name was
Sparamizus, to see Sardanapalus: and when ... he saw him painted with
vermilion, and adorned like a woman, sitting among his concubines,
carding purple wool, and sitting among them with his feet up, wearing a
woman's robe, and with his beard carefully scraped, and his face
smoothed with pumice stone (for he was whiter than milk, and pencilled
under his eyes and eyebrows; and when he saw Arbaces he was putting a
little more white under his eyes). Most historians, of whom Duris is
one, relate that Arbaces, being indignant at his countrymen being ruled
over by such a monarch as that, stabbed him and slew him. But Ctesias
says that he went to war with him, and collected a great army, and then
that Sardanapalus, being dethroned by Arbaces, died, burning himself
alive in his palace, having heaped up a funeral pile four plethra in
extent, on which he placed 150 golden couches."--_The Deipnosophistae_
... of Athenaeus, bk. xii. c. 38, translated by C. D. Yonge, 1854, iii.

[5] {13}[This prince surpassed all his predecessors in effeminacy,
luxury, and cowardice. He never went out of his palace, but spent all
his time among a company of women, dressed and painted like them, and
employed like them at the distaff. He placed all his happiness and glory
in the possession of immense treasures, in feasting and rioting, and
indulging himself in all the most infamous and criminal pleasures. He
ordered two verses to be put upon his tomb, signifying that he carried
away with him all he had eaten, and all the pleasures he had enjoyed,
but left everything else behind him,--_an epitaph_, says Aristotle, _fit
for a hog_. Arbaces, governor of Media, having found means to get into
the palace, and having with his own eyes seen Sardanapalus in the midst
of his infamous seraglio, enraged at such a spectacle, and not able to
endure that so many brave men should be subjected to a prince more soft
and effeminate than the women themselves, immediately formed a
conspiracy against him. Beleses, governor of Babylon, and several
others, entered into it. On the first rumour of this revolt the king hid
himself in the inmost part of his palace. Being afterwards obliged to
take the field with some forces which he had assembled, he at first
gained three successive victories over the enemy, but was afterwards
overcome, and pursued to the gates of Nineveh; wherein he shut himself,
in hopes the rebels would never be able to take a city so well
fortified, and stored with provisions for a considerable time. The siege
proved indeed of very great length. It had been declared by an ancient
oracle that Nineveh could never be taken unless the river became an
enemy to the city. These words buoyed up Sardanapalus, because he looked
upon the thing as impossible. But when he saw that the Tigris, by a
violent inundation, had thrown down twenty stadia (two miles and a half)
of the city wall, and by that means opened a passage to the enemy, he
understood the meaning of the oracle, and thought himself lost. He
resolved, however, to die in such a manner as, according to his opinion,
should cover the infamy of his scandalous and effeminate life. He
ordered a pile of wood to be made in his palace, and, setting fire to
it, burnt himself, his eunuchs, his women, and his treasures.--Diod.
Sic., _Bibl. Hist_., lib. ii. pag. 78, sqq., ed. 1604, p. 109.]

[a] {14} _He sweats in dreary, dulled effeminacy_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[b] {15} _And see the gewgaws of the glittering girls_.--[MS. M.

[6] ["The words _Queen_ (_vide infra_, line 83) and _pavilion_ occur,
but it is not an allusion to his Britannic Majesty, as you may
tremulously (for the admiralty custom) imagine. This you will one day
see (if I finish it), as I have made Sardanapalus _brave_ (though
voluptuous, as history represents him), and also as _amiable_ as my poor
powers could render him. So that it could neither be truth nor satire on
any living monarch."--Letter to Murray, May 25, 1821, _Letters_, 1901,
v. 299.

Byron pretended, or, perhaps, really thought, that such a phrase as the
"Queen's wrongs" would be supposed to contain an allusion to the trial
of Queen Caroline (August-November, 1820), and to the exclusion of her
name from the State prayers, etc. Unquestionably if the play had been
put on the stage at this time, the pit and gallery would have applauded
the sentiment to the echo. There was, too, but one "pavilion" in 1821,
and that was not on the banks of the Euphrates, but at Brighton. _Qui
s'excuse s'accuse_. Byron was not above "paltering" with his readers "in
a double sense."]

[7] {16} "The Ionian name had been still more comprehensive; having
included the Achaians and the B[oe]otians, who, together with those to
whom it was afterwards confined, would make nearly the whole of the
Greek nation; and among the Orientals it was always the general name for
the Greeks."--MITFORD'S _Greece_, 1818. i. 199.

[c] {17} _To Byblis_----.--[MS. M.]

[d] _I know each glance of those deep Greek-souled eyes_.--[MS. M.

[e] {19}

                          ----_I have a mind_
    _To curse the restless slaves with their own wishes_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[8] {21}[For the occupation of India by Dionysus, see Diod. Siculi _Bib.
Hist_., lib. ii, pag. 87, c.]

[f] _He did, and thence was deemed a God in story_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[9] [Strabo (_Rerum Geog_., lib. iii. 1807, p. 235) throws some doubt on
the existence of these columns, which he suggests were islands or
"pillar" rocks. According to Plutarch (Langhorne's Translation, 1838, p.
490), Alexander built great altars on the banks of the Ganges, on which
the native kings were wont to "offer sacrifices in the Grecian manner."
Hence, perhaps, the legend of the columns erected by Dionysus.]

[10] "For this expedition he took only a small chosen body of the
phalanx, but all his light troops. In the first day's march he reached
Anchialus, a town said to have been founded by the king of Assyria,
Sardanapalus. The fortifications, in their magnitude and extent, still
in Arrian's time, bore the character of greatness, which the Assyrians
appear singularly to have affected in works of the kind. A monument
representing Sardanapalus was found there, warranted by an inscription
in Assyrian characters, of course in the old Assyrian language, which
the Greeks, whether well or ill, interpreted thus: 'Sardanapalus, son of
Anacyndaraxes, in one day founded Anchialus and Tarsus. Eat, drink,
play; all other human joys are not worth a fillip.' Supposing this
version nearly exact (for Arrian says it was not quite so), whether the
purpose has not been to invite to civil order a people disposed to
turbulence, rather than to recommend immoderate luxury, may perhaps
reasonably be questioned. What, indeed, could be the object of a king of
Assyria in founding such towns in a country so distant from his capital,
and so divided from it by an immense extent of sandy deserts and lofty
mountains, and, still more, how the inhabitants could be at once in
circumstances to abandon themselves to the intemperate joys which their
prince has been supposed to have recommended, is not obvious. But it may
deserve observation that, in that line of coast, the southern of Lesser
Asia, ruins of cities, evidently of an age after Alexander, yet barely
named in history, at this day astonish the adventurous traveller by
their magnificence and elegance amid the desolation which, under a
singularly barbarian government, has for so many centuries been daily
spreading in the finest countries of the globe. Whether more from soil
and climate, or from opportunities for commerce, extraordinary means
must have been found for communities to flourish there; whence it may
seem that the measures of Sardanapalus were directed by juster views
than have been commonly ascribed to him. But that monarch having been
the last of a dynasty ended by a revolution, obloquy on his memory would
follow of course from the policy of his successors and their partisans.
The inconsistency of traditions concerning Sardanapalus is striking in
Diodorus's account of him."--MITFORD's _Greece_, 1820, ix. 311-313, and
note 1.

[The story of the sepulchral monument with its cynical inscription rests
on the authority of Aristobulus, who served under Alexander, and wrote
his history. The passage is quoted by Strabo (lib. xiv. ed. 1808, p.
958), and as follows by Athenaeus (lib. xii. cap. 40) in the
_Deipnosophistae_: "And Aristobulus says, 'In Anchiale, which was built
by Sardanapalus, did Alexander, when he was on his expedition against
the Persians, pitch his camp. And at no great distance was the monument
of Sardanapalus, on which there is a marble figure putting together the
fingers of its right hand, as if it were giving a fillip. And there was
on it the following inscription in Assyrian characters:--

        The king, and son of Anacyndaraxes,
        In one day built Anchiale and Tarsus:
    Eat, drink, and love, the rest's not worth e'en this.'

By '_this_' meaning the fillip he was giving with his fingers."

"We may conjecture," says Canon Rawlinson, "that the monument was in
reality a stele containing the king [Sennacherib] in an arched frame,
with the right hand raised above the left, which is the ordinary
attitude, and an inscription commemorating the occasion of its erection"
[the conquest of Cilicia and settlement of Tarsus].--_The Five Great
Monarchies, etc._, 1871, ii. 216.]

[11] {25}[Compare "Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all
creatures else to fat us; and we fat ourselves for maggots."--_Hamlet_.
act iv. sc. 3, lines 21-23.]

[12] {27}[Compare--"The fickle reek of popular breath." _Childe Harold_,
Canto IV. stanza clxxi. line 2.]

[13] Compare--"I have not flattered its rank breath." _Childe Harold_,
Canto III. stanza cxiii. line 2.

Compare, too, Shakespeare, _Coriolanus_, act iii. sc. i, lines 66, 67.

[14] {28}["Rode. Winter's wind somewhat more unkind than ingratitude
itself, though Shakespeare says otherwise. At least, I am so much more
accustomed to meet with ingratitude than the north wind, that I thought
the latter the sharper of the two. I had met with both in the course of
the twenty-four hours, so could judge."--_Extracts from a Diary_,
January 19, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 177.]

[g] {31}
                     ----_and even dared_
    _Profane our presence with his savage jeers_.--[MS. M.]

[h] {34} _Who loved no gems so well as those of nature_.--[MS. M.]

[i] _Wishing eternity to dust_----.--[MS. M.]

[j] {38}
    _Each twinkle unto which Time trembles, and_
    _Nations grow nothing_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[15] {40}[Compare "these swoln silkworms," _Marino Faliero_, act ii. sc.
2. line 115, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 386, note 4.]

[k] {43} _But found the Monarch claimed his privacy_.--[MS. M. erased.]

             ----_not else_
    _It quits this living hand_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[m] _I know them beautiful, and see them brilliant_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[n] {49} ----_by the foolish confidence_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[16] [The first edition reads "grantor." In the MS. the word may be
either "granter" or "grantor." "Grantor" is a technical term, in law,
for one "who grants a conveyance."]

[17] {50}[According to AElian, _Var. Hist._, vii. i, Semiramis, having
obtained from her husband permission to rule over Asia for five days,
thrust him into a dungeon, and obtained the sovereign power for herself
(ed. Paris, 1858, p. 355).]

[o] {52} _Aye--that's earnest!_--[MS. M. erased.]

[p] {54} _Nay, if thou wilt not_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[q] {56}
    _Nor silent Baal, our imaged deity_,
    _Although his marble face looks frowningly_,
    _As the dusk shadows of the evening cast_
    _His trow in coming dimness and at times_.--[MS. M. erased.]

                      / _a wide-spread_    \
_In distant flashes_ <  _tempest_           > --[MS. M erased]
                      \ _the approaching_  /

[s] _As from the Gods to augur_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[t] {58} _The weaker merit of our Asian women_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[u] _Rather than prove that love to you in griefs_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[v] {60} _Worshippers in the air_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[18] {61}[Perhaps Grillparzer's _Sappho_ was responsible for the
anachronism. See "Extracts from a Diary," January 12, 1821, _Letters_,
1901, V. 171, note 1.]

[19] {63}["In the third act, when Sardanapalus calls for a _mirror_ to
look at himself in his _armour_, recollect to quote the Latin passage
from _Juvenal_ upon Otho (a similar character, who did the same thing:
Gifford will help you to it). The trait is, perhaps, too familiar, but
it is historical (of Otho, at least), and natural in an effeminate
character."--Letter to Murray, May 30, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 301.
The quotation was not made in the first edition, 1821, nor in any
subsequent issue, till 1832. It is from Juvenal, _Sat._ ii. lines

    "Ille tenet speculum, pathici gestamen Othonis,
    Actoris Aurunci spolium, quo se ille videbat
    Armatum, cum jam tolli vexilla juberet.
    Res memoranda novis annalibus, atque recenti
    Historia, speculum civilis sarcina belli."

    "This grasps a mirror--pathic Otho's boast
    (Auruncan Actor's spoil), where, while his host,
    With shouts, the signal of the fight required,
    He viewed his mailed form; viewed, and admired!
    Lo, a new subject for the historic page,
    A MIRROR, midst the arms of civil rage!"


[w] {66} ----_and his own helmet_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[x] {68} _We'll die where we were raised_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[y] {70} _Tortured because his mind is tortured_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[z] _He ever such an order_----.--[MS. M. erased.] _He ever had that
order_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[20] {72}["When 'the king was almost dying with thirst' ... the eunuch
Satibarzanes sought every place for water.... After much search he found
one of those poor Caunians had about two quarts of bad water in a mean
bottle, and he took it and carried it to the king. After the king had
drawn it all up, the eunuch asked him, 'If he did not find it a
disagreeable beverage?' Upon which he swore by all the gods, 'That he
had never drunk the most delicious wine, nor the lightest and clearest
water with so much pleasure. I wish only,' continued he, 'that I could
find the man who gave it thee, that I might make him a recompense. In
the mean time I entreat the gods to make him happy and
rich.'"--Plutarch's _Artaxerxes_, Langhorne's translation, 1838, p. 694.
Poetry as well as history repeats itself. Compare the "water green"
which Gunga Din brought, at the risk of his own life, to fill the
wounded soldier's helmet (_Barrack-Room Ballads_, by Rudyard Kipling,
1892, p. 25). Compare, too--

    "_Arn._              'Tis a scratch....
    In the shoulder, not the sword arm--
    And that's enough. I am thirsty: would I had
    A helm of water!"

_The Deformed Transformed_, part ii sc. ii. 44, seq., _vide post_, p.

[aa] {73}

                ----_ere they had time_
    _To place his helm again_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[ab] _O ye Gods! wounded_.--[MS. M.]

[21] {73}[Compare--"His flashing eyes, his floating hair." _Kubla Khan_,
line 49.]

[22] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto I. stanzas lv., lvi., _Poetical
Works, 1898_, i. 57, 58, and note 11, pp. 91, 92.]

[23] {75}[Compare--

    "How wonderful is Death,
    Death and his brother Sleep!"

                                     Shelley's _Queen Mab, i. lines 1, 2_]

[ac] _Crisps the unswelling wave_.--[MS. M. erased]

[ad] {76}

    _Old Hunter of mankind when baited and ye_
    _All brutal who pursued both brutes and men_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[ae] {78} _With arrows peeping through his falling hair_.--[MS. M.

[24] [In the diary for November 23, 1813 (_Letters_, 1898, ii. 334,
335), Byron alludes to a dream which "chilled his blood" and shook his
nerves. Compare Coleridge's _Pains of Sleep_, lines 23-26--

    "Desire with loathing strangely mixed,
    On wild or hateful objects fixed.
    Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
    And shame and terror over all!"]

[25] {79}[For the story of Semiramis and Ninya, see _Justinus Hist_.,
lib. i. cap. ii.]

[26] {81}[See Diod. Siculi _Bibl. Hist._, lib. ii. 80 c. Cotta was not a
kinsman, but a loyal tributary.]

[af] {82} The MS. inserts--(_But I speak only of such as are virtuous_.)

[27] [Byron must often have pictured to himself an unexpected meeting
with his wife. In certain moods he would write letters to her which were
never sent, or never reached her hands. The scene between Sardanapalus
and Zarina reflects the sentiments contained in one such letter, dated
November 17, 1821, which Moore printed in his _Life_, pp. 581, 582. See
_Letters_, 1901, v. 479.]

[ag] {84} _Bravely and won wear wisely--not as I_.--[MS. M, erased.]

[ah] {88}

    _Which thou hast lighted up at once? but leavest_
    _One to grieve o'er the other's change--Zarina_.-[MS. M, erased.]

[ai] {89} ----_natural_.--[MS. M. The first edition reads "mutual."]

[aj] {91} _Is heavier sorrow than the wrong which_--[MS. M. erased.]

[ak] {93} _A leech's lancet would have done as much_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[28] {94}[Myrrha's apostrophe to the sunrise may be compared with the
famous waking vision of the "Solitary" in the Second Book of the
_Excursion_ (_Works of Wordsworth_, 1889, p. 439)--

    "The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
    Was of a mighty city--boldly say
    A wilderness of building, sinking far
    And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth,
    Far sinking into splendour--without end!
    Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
    With alabaster domes, and silver spires,
    And blazing terrace upon terrace, high

But the difference, even in form, between the two passages is more
remarkable than the resemblance, and the interpretation, the moral of
Byron's vision is distinct from, if not alien to, Wordsworth's. The
"Solitary" sees all heaven opened; the revealed abode of spirits in
beatitude--a refuge and a redemption from "this low world of care;"
while Myrrha drinks in "enough of heaven," a medicament of "Sorrow and
of Love," for the invigoration of "the common, heavy, human hours" of
mortal existence. For a charge of "imitation," see _Works of Lord
Byron_, 1832, xiii. 172, note I. See, too, _Poetical Works, etc._, 1891,
p. 271, note 2.]

[al] {95}

    _Sunrise and sunset form the epoch of_
    _Sorrow and love; and they who mark them not_
    {_Are fit for neither of those_
    {_Can ne'er hold converse with these two_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[am] _Of labouring wretches in alloted tasks_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[an] {97} _We are used to such inflictions_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[29] {101} About two miles and a half.

[ao] {102} _Complexions, climes, aeras, and intellects_.--[MS. M.

[30] {103}[Athenaeus represents the treasures which Sardanapalus placed
in the chamber erected on his funeral pile as amounting to a thousand
myriads of talents of gold, and ten times as many talents of silver.]


                    _Ye will find the crevice_
    _To which the key fits, with a little care_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[31] {106}["Then the king caused a huge pile of wood to be made in the
palace court, and heaped together upon it all his gold, silver, and
royal apparel, and enclosing his eunuchs and concubines in an apartment
within the pile, caused it to be set on fire, and burned himself and
them together."--Diod. Siculi _Bibl. Hist._, lib. ii. cap. 81A.

"And he also erected on the funeral pile a chamber 100 feet long, made
of wood, and in it he had couches spread, and there he himself lay down
with his wife, and his concubines lay on other couches around.... And he
made the roof of the apartment of large stout beams, and there all the
walls of it he made of numerous thick planks, so that it was impossible
to escape out of it,... And ... he bade the slaves set fire to the
pile; and it was fifteen days burning. And those who saw the smoke
wondered, and thought that he was celebrating a great sacrifice, but the
eunuchs alone knew what was really being done. And in this way
Sardanapalus, who had spent his life in extraordinary luxury, died with
as much magnanimity as possible."--Athenaeus, _Deipnosophistae_, bk. xii.
cap. 38.

See _Abydenus apud Eusebium_, Praep. Ev. 9. 41. 4; Euseb., _Chron_.,
1878, p. 42, ed. A. Schoene.

Saracus was the last king of Assyria, and being invaded by Cyaxares and
a faithless general Nabopolassar ... "unable to resist them, took
counsel of despair, and after all means of resistance were exhausted,
burned himself in his palace."

"The self-immolation of Saracus has a parallel in the conduct of the
Israelitish king Zimri, who, 'when he saw that the city was taken, went
into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over
him, and died' (1 Kings xvi. 18); and again in that of the Persian
governor Boges, who burnt himself with his wives and children at Eion
(Herod., vii. 107)."--_The Five Great Monarchies, etc._, by Rev. G.
Rawlinson, 1871, ii. 232, note 4.]

[aq] {109} _Funereal_----.--[MS. M.]

[ar] _And strew the earth with, ashes_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[as] {110}

                    ----_And what is there_
    _An Indian widow dares for custom which_
    _A Greek girl_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[32] {111}[Bishop Heber (_Quarterly Review_, July, 1821, vol. xxvii. p.
503) takes exception to these lines on the ground that they "involve an
anachronism, inasmuch as, whatever date be assigned to the erection of
the earlier pyramids, there can be no reason for apprehending that, at
the fall of Nineveh, and while the kingdom and hierarchy of Egypt
subsisted in their full splendour, the destination of those immense
fabrics could have been a matter of doubt.... Herodotus, three hundred
years later, may have been misinformed on these points," etc., etc.
According to modern Egyptology, the erection of the "earlier pyramids"
was an event of remotest antiquity when the Assyrian Empire was in its

[33] End of Act fifth.--B.
                                                 Ravenne. May 27^th^ 1821.
Mem.--I began the drama on the 13th of January, 1821, and continued the
two first acts very slowly and at long intervals. The three last acts
were written since the 13th of May, 1821 (this present month, that is to
say in a fortnight).

                       THE TWO FOSCARI:[34]

                      AN HISTORICAL TRAGEDY.[35]

  "The _father_ softens, but the _governor's_ resolved."--_Critic_.[36]

[_The Two Foscari_ was produced at Drury Lane Theatre April 7, and again
on April 18 and April 25, 1838. Macready played "Frances Foscari," Mr.
Anderson "Jacopo Foscari," and Miss Helen Faucit "Marina."

According to the _Times_, April 9, 1838, "Miss Faucit's Marina, the most
energetic part of the whole, was clever, and showed a careful attention
to the points which might be made."

Macready notes in his diary, April 7, 1838 (_Reminiscences_, 1875, ii.
106): "Acted Foscari very well. Was very warmly received ... was called
for at the end of the tragedy, and received by the whole house standing
up and waving handkerchiefs with great enthusiasm. Dickens, Forster,
Procter, Browning, Talfourd, all came into my room."]


The _Two Foscari_ was begun on June 12, and finished, within the month,
on July 9, 1821. Byron was still in the vein of the historic drama,
though less concerned with "ancient chroniclers" and original
"authorities" (_vide ante_, Preface to _Marino Faliero_, vol. iv. p. 332)
than heretofore. "The Venetian play," he tells Murray, July 14, 1821, is
"rigidly historical;" but he seems to have depended for his facts, not
on Sanudo or Navagero, but on Daru's _Histoire de la Republique de
Venise_ (1821, ii. 520-537), and on Sismondi's _Histoire des Republiques
... du Moyen Age_ (1815, x. 36-46). The story of the Two Doges, so far
as it concerns the characters and action of Byron's play, may be briefly
re-told. It will be found to differ in some important particulars from
the extracts from Daru and Sismondi which Byron printed in his "Appendix
to the _Two Foscari_" (_Sardanapalus, etc._, 1821, pp. 305-324), and no
less from a passage in Smedley's _Sketches from Venetian History_ (1832,
ii. 93-105), which was substituted for the French "Pieces
justificatives," in the collected edition of 1832-1835, xiii. 198-202,
and the octavo edition of 1837, etc., pp. 790, 791.

Francesco, son of Nicolo Foscari, was born in 1373. He was nominated a
member of the Council of Ten in 1399, and, after holding various offices
of state, elected Doge in 1423. His dukedom, the longest on record,
lasted till 1457. He was married, in 1395, to Maria, daughter of Andrea
Priuli, and, _en secondes noces_, to Maria, or Marina, daughter of
Bartolommeo Nani. By his two wives he was the father of ten
children--five sons and five daughters. Of the five sons, four died of
the plague, and the fifth, Jacopo, lived to be the cause, if not the
hero, of a tragedy.

The younger of the "Two Foscari" was a man of some cultivation, a
collector and student of Greek manuscripts, well-mannered, and of ready
wit, a child and lover of Venice, but indifferent to her ideals and
regardless of her prejudices and restrictions. He seems to have begun
life in a blaze of popularity, the admired of all admirers. His wedding
with Lucrezia Contarini (January, 1441) was celebrated with a novel and
peculiar splendour. Gorgeous youths, Companions of the Hose (_della
calza_), in jackets of crimson velvet, with slashed sleeves lined with
squirrel fur, preceded and followed the bridegroom's train. A hundred
bridesmaids accompanied the bride. Her dowry exceeded 16,000 ducats, and
her jewels, which included a necklace worn by a Queen of Cyprus, were
"rich and rare." And the maiden herself was a pearl of great price. "She
behaved," writes her brother, "and does behave, so well beyond what
could have been looked for. I believe she is inspired by God!"

Jacopo had everything which fortune could bestow, but he lacked a
capacity for right conduct. Four years after his marriage (February 17,
1445) an accusation was laid before the Ten (Romanin, _Storia_, etc.,
iv. 266) that, contrary to the law embodied in the Ducal _Promissione_,
he had accepted gifts of jewels and money, not only from his
fellow-citizens, but from his country's bitterest enemy, Filippo
Visconti, Duke of Milan. Jacopo fled to Trieste, and in his absence the
Ten, supported by a giunta of ten, on their own authority and
independently of the Doge, sentenced him to perpetual banishment at
Nauplia, in Roumania. One of the three _Capi di' dieci_ was Ermolao (or
_Venetice_ Almoro) Donato, of whom more hereafter. It is to be noted
that this sentence was never carried into effect. At the end of four
months, thanks to the intervention of five members of the Ten, he was
removed from Trieste to Treviso, and, two years later (September 13,
1447), out of consideration to the Doge, who pleaded that the exile of
his only son prevented him from giving his whole heart and soul to the
Republic, permitted to return to Venice. So ends the first chapter of
Jacopo's misadventures. He stands charged with unlawful, if not
criminal, appropriation of gifts and moneys. He had been punished, but
less than he deserved, and, for his father's sake, the sentence of exile
had been altogether remitted.

Three years went by, and once again, January, 1451, a charge was
preferred against Jacopo Foscari, and on this occasion he was arrested
and brought before the Ten. He was accused of being implicated in the
murder of Ermolao Donato, who was assassinated November 5, 1450, on
leaving the Ducal Palace, where he had been attending the Council of the
Pregadi. On the morning after the murder Benedetto Gritti, one of the
"avvogadori di Commun," was at Mestre, some five miles from Venice, and,
happening to accost a servant of Jacopo's who was loading a barge with
wood, asked for the latest news from Venice, and got as answer, "Donato
has been murdered!" The possession of the news some hours before it had
been made public, and the fact that the newsmonger had been haunting
the purlieus of the Ducal Palace on the previous afternoon, enabled the
Ten to convict Jacopo. They alleged (Decree of X., March 26, 1451) that
other evidence ("_testificationes et scripturae_") was in their
possession, and they pointed to the prisoner's obstinate silence on the
rack--a silence unbroken save by "several incantations and magic words
which fell from him," as a confirmation of his guilt. Moreover, it was
"for the advantage of the State from many points of view" that convicted
and condemned he should be. The question of his innocence or guilt
(complicated by the report or tradition that one Nicolo Erizzo confessed
on his death-bed that he had assassinated Donato for reasons of his own)
is still under discussion. Berlan (_I due Foscari_, etc., 1852, p. 36)
sums up against him. It may, however, be urged in favour of Jacopo that
the Ten did not produce or quote the _scripturae et testificationes_
which convinced them of his guilt; that they stopped short of the
death-penalty, and pronounced a sentence inadequate to the crime; and,
lastly, that not many years before they had taken into consideration the
possibility and advisability of poisoning Filippo Visconti, an event
which would, no doubt, have been "to the advantage of the State from
many points of view."

Innocent or guilty, he was sentenced to perpetual banishment to the city
of Candia, on the north coast of the island of Crete; and, guilty or
innocent, Jacopo was not the man to make the best of what remained to
him and submit to fate. Intrigue he must, and, five years later (June,
1456), a report reached Venice that papers had been found in his
possession, some relating to the Duke of Milan, calculated to excite
"nuovi scandali e disordini," and others in cypher, which the Ten
could not read. Over and above these papers there was direct evidence
that Jacopo had written to the _Imperatore dei Turchi_, imploring him to
send his galley and take him away from Candia. Here was a fresh instance
of treachery to the Republic, and, July 21, 1456, Jacopo returned to
Venice under the custody of Lorenzo Loredano.

According to Romanin (_Storia, etc._, iv. 284), he was not put to the
torture, but confessed his guilt spontaneously, pleading, by way of
excuse, that the letter to the Duke of Milan had been allowed to fall
into the hands of spies, with a view to his being recalled to Venice and
obtaining a glimpse of his parents and family, even at a risk of a fresh
trial. On the other hand, the _Dolfin Cronaca_, the work of a kinsman of
the Foscari, which records Jacopo's fruitless appeal to the sorrowful
but inexorable Doge, and other incidents of a personal nature,
testifies, if not to torture on the rack, "to mutilation by thirty
strokes of the lash." Be that as it may, he was once more condemned to
lifelong exile, with the additional penalty that he should be imprisoned
for a year. He sailed for Venice July 31, 1456, and died at Candia,
January 12, 1457. Jacopo's misconduct and consequent misfortune
overshadowed the splendour of his father's reign, and, in very truth
"brought his gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."

After his son's death, the aged Doge, now in his eighty-fifth year,
retired to his own apartments, and refused to preside at Councils of
State. The Ten, who in 1446 had yielded to the Doge's plea that a father
fretting for an exiled son could not discharge his public duties, were
instant that he should abdicate the dukedom on the score of decrepitude.
Accounts differ as to the mode in which he received the sentence of
deposition. It is certain that he was compelled to abdicate on Sunday
morning, October 23, 1457, but was allowed a breathing-space of a few
days to make his arrangements for quitting the Ducal Palace.

On Monday, October 24, the Great Council met to elect his successor, and
sat with closed doors till Sunday, October 30.

On Thursday, October 27, Francesco, heedless of a suggestion that he
should avoid the crowd, descended the Giants' Staircase for the last
time, and, says the _Dolfin Cronaca_, "after crossing the courtyard,
went out by the door leading to the prisons, and entered his boat by the
Ponte di Paglia." "He was dressed," says another chronicle (_August.
Cod._ I, cl. vii.), "in a scarlet mantle, from which the fur lining had
been taken," surmounted by a scarlet hood, an old friend which he had
worn when his ducal honours were new, and which he had entrusted to his
wife's care to be preserved for "red" days and festivals of State. "In
his hand he held his staff, as he walked very slowly. His brother Marco
was by his side, behind him were cousins and grandsons ... and in this
way he went to his own house."

On Sunday, October 30, Pasquale Malipiero was declared Doge, and two
days after, All Saints' Day, at the first hour of the morning, Francesco
Foscari died. If the interval between ten o'clock on Sunday night and
one o'clock on Tuesday morning disproves the legend that the discrowned
Doge ruptured a blood-vessel at the moment when the bell was tolling for
the election of his successor, the truth remains that, old as he was, he
died of a broken heart.

His predecessor, Tomaso Mocenigo, had prophesied on his death-bed that
if the Venetians were to make Foscari Doge they would forfeit their
"gold and silver, their honour and renown." "From your position of
lords," said he, "you will sink to that of vassals and servants to men
of arms." The prophecy was fulfilled. "If we look," writes Mr. H. F.
Brown (_Venice, etc._, 1893, p. 306), "at the sum-total of Foscari's reign
... we find that the Republic had increased her land territory by the
addition of two great provinces, Bergamo and Brescia ... But the price
had been enormous ... her debt rose from 6,000,000 to 13,000,000 ducats.
Venetian funds fell to 18-1/2.... Externally there was much pomp and
splendour.... But underneath this bravery there lurked the official
corruption of the nobles, the suspicion of the Ten, the first signs of
bank failures, the increase in the national debt, the fall in the value
of the funds. Land wars and landed possessions drew the Venetians from
the sea to _terra ferma_.... The beginning of the end had arrived." (See
_Two Doges of Venice_, by Alethea Wiel, 1891; _I due Foscari, Memorie
Storicho Critiche_, di Francesco Berlan, 1852; _Storia Documentata di
Venezia_, di S. Romanin, 1855, vol. iv.; _Die beiden Foscari_, von
Richard Senger, 1878. For reviews, etc., of _The Two Foscari, vide
ante_, "Introduction to _Sardanapalus_," p. 5.)

Both Jeffrey in the _Edinburgh_, and Heber in the _Quarterly Review_,
took exception to the character of Jacopo Foscari, in accordance with
the Horatian maxim, "Incredulus odi." "If," said Jeffrey, "he had been
presented to the audience wearing out his heart in exile, ... we might
have caught some glimpse of the nature of his motives." As it is (in
obedience to the "unities") "we first meet with him led from the
'Question,' and afterwards ... clinging to the dungeon walls of his
native city, and expiring from his dread of leaving them." The situation
lacks conviction.

"If," argued Heber, "there ever existed in nature a case so
extraordinary as that of a man who gravely preferred tortures and a
dungeon at home, to a temporary residence in a beautiful island and a
fine climate; it is what few can be made to believe, and still fewer to
sympathize with."

It was, no doubt, with reference to these criticisms that Byron told
Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 173) that it was no invention of his
that the "young Foscari should have a sickly affection for his native
city.... I painted the men as I found them, as they were--not as the
critics would have them.... But no painting, however highly coloured,
can give an idea of the intensity of a Venetian's affection for his
native city."

Goethe, on the other hand, was "not careful" to note these
inconsistencies and perplexities. He thought that the dramatic handling
of _The Two Foscari_ was "worthy of great praise," was "admirable!"
(_Conversations with Goethe_, 1874, p. 265).

                             DRAMATIS PERSONAE


    FRANCIS FOSCARI, _Doge of Venice_.
    JACOPO FOSCARI, _Son of the Doge_.
    JAMES LOREDANO, _a Patrician_.
    MARCO MEMMO, _a Chief of the Forty_.
    BARBARIGO, _a Senator_.

    _Other Senators, The Council of Ten, Guards, Attendants, etc., etc._


    MARINA, _Wife of young_ FOSCARI.

    SCENE--The Ducal Palace, Venice.

                             THE TWO FOSCARI.

                                  ACT I.

                 SCENE I.--_A Hall in the Ducal Palace_.

               _Enter_ LOREDANO _and_ BARBARIGO, _meeting_.

    _Lor._ WHERE is the prisoner?

    _Bar._                        Reposing from
    The Question.

    _Lor._        The hour's past--fixed yesterday
    For the resumption of his trial.--Let us
    Rejoin our colleagues in the council, and
    Urge his recall.

    _Bar._          Nay, let him profit by
    A few brief minutes for his tortured limbs;
    He was o'erwrought by the Question yesterday,
    And may die under it if now repeated.[at][37]

    _Lor._ Well?

    _Bar._      I yield not to you in love of justice,
    Or hate of the ambitious Foscari,                                   10
    Father and son, and all their noxious race;
    But the poor wretch has suffered beyond Nature's
    Most stoical endurance.

    _Lor._                 Without owning
    His crime?

    _Bar._    Perhaps without committing any.
    But he avowed the letter to the Duke
    Of Milan, and his sufferings half atone for
    Such weakness.

    _Lor._        We shall see.

    _Bar._                     You, Loredano,
    Pursue hereditary hate too far.

    _Lor._ How far?

    _Bar._         To extermination.

    _Lor._                           When they are
    Extinct, you may say this.--Let's in to council.                    20

    _Bar._ Yet pause--the number of our colleagues is not
    Complete yet; two are wanting ere we can

    _Lor._   And the chief judge, the Doge?

    _Bar._                                 No--he,
    With more than Roman fortitude, is ever
    First at the board in this unhappy process
    Against his last and only son.[38]

    _Lor._                         True--true--
    His _last_.

    _Bar._   Will nothing move you?

    _Lor._                        _Feels he_, think you?

    _Bar._ He shows it not.

    _Lor._                 I have marked _that_--the wretch!

    _Bar._ But yesterday, I hear, on his return
    To the ducal chambers, as he passed the threshold                   30
    The old man fainted.

    _Lor._             It begins to work, then.

    _Bar._ The work is half your own.

    _Lor._                           And should be _all_ mine--
    My father and my uncle are no more.

    _Bar._ I have read their epitaph, which says they died
    By poison.[39]

    _Lor._      When the Doge declared that he
    Should never deem himself a sovereign till
    The death of Peter Loredano, both
    The brothers sickened shortly:--he _is_ Sovereign.

    _Bar._ A wretched one.

    _Lor._                What should they be who make

    _Bar._ But _did_ the Doge make you so?

    _Lor._                                Yes.                        40

    _Bar._ What solid proofs?

    _Lor._                   When Princes set themselves
    To work in secret, proofs and process are
    Alike made difficult; but I have such
    Of the first, as shall make the second needless.

    _Bar._ But you will move by law?

    _Lor._                          By all the laws
    Which he would leave us.

    _Bar._                  They are such in this
    Our state as render retribution easier
    Than 'mongst remoter nations. Is it true
    That you have written in your books of commerce,
    (The wealthy practice of our highest nobles)                        50
    "Doge Foscari, my debtor for the deaths
    Of Marco and Pietro Loredano,
    My sire and uncle?"[40]

    _Lor._             It is written thus.

    _Bar._ And will you leave it unerased?

    _Lor._                                  Till balanced.

    _Bar._ And how?

                     [_Two Senators pass over the stage, as in their way
                         to "the Hall of the Council of Ten."_

    _Lor._          You see the number is complete.
    Follow me.                                           [_Exit_ LOREDANO.

    _Bar._ (_solus_). Follow _thee_! I have followed long
    Thy path of desolation, as the wave
    Sweeps after that before it, alike whelming[au]
    The wreck that creaks to the wild winds, and wretch
    Who shrieks within its riven ribs, as gush                          60
    The waters through them; but this son and sire
    Might move the elements to pause, and yet
    Must I on hardily like them--Oh! would
    I could as blindly and remorselessly!--
    Lo, where he comes!--Be still, my heart! they are
    Thy foes, must be thy victims: wilt thou beat
    For those who almost broke thee?

          _Enter Guards, with young_ FOSCARI _as Prisoner, etc._

    _Guard_.                         Let him rest.
    Signor, take time.

    _Jac. Fos._        I thank thee, friend, I'm feeble;
    But thou mayst stand reproved.

    _Guard_.                      I'll stand the hazard.

    _Jac. Fos._ That's kind:--I meet some pity, but no mercy;[av]       70
    This is the first.

    _Guard_.          And might be the last, did they
    Who rule behold us.

    _Bar._ (_advancing to the Guard_). There is one who does:
    Yet fear not; I will neither be thy judge
    Nor thy accuser; though the hour is past,
    Wait their last summons--I am of "the Ten,"[41]
    And waiting for that summons, sanction you
    Even by my presence: when the last call sounds,
    We'll in together.--Look well to the prisoner!

    _Jac. Fos._ What voice is that?--'Tis Barbarigo's! Ah!
    Our House's foe, and one of my few judges.                          80

    _Bar._ To balance such a foe, if such there be,
    Thy father sits amongst thy judges.

    _Jac. Fos._                         True,
    He judges.

    _Bar._      Then deem not the laws too harsh
    Which yield so much indulgence to a sire,
    As to allow his voice in such high matter
    As the state's safety--

    _Jac. Fos._           And his son's. I'm faint;
    Let me approach, I pray you, for a breath
    Of air, yon window which o'erlooks the waters.

    _Enter an Officer, who whispers_ BARBARIGO.

    _Bar._ (to the Guard). Let him approach. I must not speak with him
    Further than thus: I have transgressed my duty                      90
    In this brief parley, and must now redeem it[aw]
    Within the Council Chamber.                         [_Exit_ BARBARIGO.

                       [_Guard conducting_ JACOPO FOSCARI _to the window_.

    _Guard_.                  There, sir, 'tis
    Open.--How feel you?

    _Jac. Fos._         Like a boy--Oh Venice!

    _Guard_. And your limbs?

    _Jac. Fos._            Limbs! how often have they borne me[42]
    Bounding o'er yon blue tide, as I have skimmed
    The gondola along in childish race,
    And, masqued as a young gondolier, amidst
    My gay competitors, noble as I,
    Raced for our pleasure, in the pride of strength;
    While the fair populace of crowding beauties,                      100
    Plebeian as patrician, cheered us on
    With dazzling smiles, and wishes audible,
    And waving kerchiefs, and applauding hands,
    Even to the goal!--How many a time have I
    Cloven with arm still lustier, breast more daring,
    The wave all roughened; with a swimmer's stroke
    Flinging the billows back from my drenched hair,
    And laughing from my lip the audacious brine,
    Which kissed it like a wine-cup, rising o'er
    The waves as they arose, and prouder still                         110
    The loftier they uplifted me; and oft,
    In wantonness of spirit, plunging down
    Into their green and glassy gulfs, and making
    My way to shells and sea-weed, all unseen
    By those above, till they waxed fearful; then
    Returning with my grasp full of such tokens
    As showed that I had searched the deep: exulting,
    With a far-dashing stroke, and, drawing deep
    The long-suspended breath, again I spurned
    The foam which broke around me, and pursued                        120
    My track like a sea-bird.--I was a boy then.

    _Guard_. Be a man now: there never was more need
    Of manhood's strength.

    _Jac. Fos._ (_looking from the lattice_). My beautiful, my own,
    My only Venice--_this is breath_! Thy breeze,
    Thine Adrian sea-breeze, how it fans my face!
    Thy very winds feel native to my veins,
    And cool them into calmness! How unlike
    The hot gales of the horrid Cyclades,
    Which howled about my Candiote dungeon,[43] and
    Made my heart sick.

    _Guard_.           I see the colour comes[ax]                      130
    Back to your cheek: Heaven send you strength to bear
    What more may be imposed!--I dread to think on't.

    _Jac. Fos._ They will not banish me again?--No--no,
    Let them wring on; I am strong yet.

    _Guard_.                           Confess,
    And the rack will be spared you.

    _Jac. Fos._                     I confessed
    Once--twice before: both times they exiled me.

    _Guard_. And the third time will slay you.

    _Jac. Fos._                              Let them do so,
    So I be buried in my birth-place: better
    Be ashes here than aught that lives elsewhere.

    _Guard_. And can you so much love the soil which hates you?        140

    _Jac. Fos._ The soil!--Oh no, it is the seed of the soil
    Which persecutes me: but my native earth
    Will take me as a mother to her arms.
    I ask no more than a Venetian grave,
    A dungeon, what they will, so it be here.

                           _Enter an Officer_.

    _Offi._ Bring in the prisoner!

    _Guard_.                       Signor, you hear the order.

    _Jac. Fos._ Aye, I am used to such a summons; 'tis
    The third time they have tortured me:--then lend me
    Thine arm.                                            [_To the Guard_.

    _Offi._   Take mine, sir; 'tis my duty to
    Be nearest to your person.

    _Jac. Fos._               You!--you are he                         150
    Who yesterday presided o'er my pangs--
    Away!--I'll walk alone.

    _Offi._                As you please, Signor;
    The sentence was not of my signing, but
    I dared not disobey the Council when

    _Jac. Fos._ Bade thee stretch me on their horrid engine.
    I pray thee touch me not--that is, just now;
    The time will come they will renew that order,
    But keep off from me till 'tis issued. As
    I look upon thy hands my curdling limbs
    Quiver with the anticipated wrenching,                             160
    And the cold drops strain through my brow, as if----
    But onward--I have borne it--I can bear it.--
    How looks my father?

    _Offi._             With his wonted aspect.

    _Jac. Fos._ So does the earth, and sky, the blue of Ocean,
    The brightness of our city, and her domes,
    The mirth of her Piazza--even now
    Its merry hum of nations pierces here,
    Even here, into these chambers of the unknown
    Who govern, and the unknown and the unnumbered
    Judged and destroyed in silence,--all things wear                  170
    The self-same aspect, to my very sire!
    Nothing can sympathise with Foscari,
    Not even a Foscari.--Sir, I attend you.
                                 [_Exeunt_ JACOPO FOSCARI, _Officer, etc._

                   _Enter_ MEMMO _and another Senator_.

    _Mem._ He's gone--we are too late:--think you "the Ten"
    Will sit for any length of time to-day?

    _Sen._ They say the prisoner is most obdurate,
    Persisting in his first avowal; but
    More I know not.

    _Mem._          And that is much; the secrets
    Of yon terrific chamber are as hidden
    From us, the premier nobles of the state,                          180
    As from the people.

    _Sen._             Save the wonted rumours,
    Which--like the tales of spectres, that are rife
    Near ruined buildings--never have been proved,
    Nor wholly disbelieved: men know as little
    Of the state's real acts as of the grave's
    Unfathomed mysteries.

    _Mem._               But with length of time
    We gain a step in knowledge, and I look
    Forward to be one day of the decemvirs.

    _Sen._ Or Doge?

    _Mem._         Why, no; not if I can avoid it.

    _Sen._ 'Tis the first station of the state, and may                190
    Be lawfully desired, and lawfully
    Attained by noble aspirants.

    _Mem._                      To such
    I leave it; though born noble, my ambition
    Is limited: I'd rather be an unit
    Of an united and Imperial "Ten,"
    Than shine a lonely, though a gilded cipher.--
    Whom have we here? the wife of Foscari?

                _Enter_ MARINA, _with a female Attendant_.

    _Mar._ What, no one?--I am wrong, there still are two;
    But they are senators.

    _Mem._                Most noble lady,
    Command us.

    _Mar._      _I command_!--Alas! my life                            200
    Has been one long entreaty, and a vain one.

    _Mem._ I understand thee, but I must not answer.

    _Mar._ (_fiercely_). True--none dare answer here save on the rack,
    Or question save those----

    _Mem._ (_interrupting her_). High-born dame![44] bethink thee
    Where thou now art.

    _Mar._             Where I now am!--It was
    My husband's father's palace.

    _Mem._                       The Duke's palace.

    _Mar._ And his son's prison!--True, I have not forgot it;
    And, if there were no other nearer, bitterer
    Remembrances, would thank the illustrious Memmo
    For pointing out the pleasures of the place.                       210

    _Mem._ Be calm!

    _Mar._ (_looking up towards heaven_). I am; but oh, thou eternal God!
    Canst _thou_ continue so, with such a world?

    _Mem._ Thy husband yet may be absolved.

    _Mar._                                  He is,
    In Heaven. I pray you, Signer Senator,
    Speak not of that; you are a man of office,
    So is the Doge; he has a son at stake
    Now, at this moment, and I have a husband,
    Or had; they are there within, or were at least
    An hour since, face to face, as judge and culprit:
    Will _he_ condemn _him_?

    _Mem._                         I trust not.

    _Mar._                                     But if                  220
    He does not, there are those will sentence both.

    _Mem._ They can.

    _Mar._           And with them power and will are one
    In wickedness;--my husband's lost!

    _Mem._                            Not so;
    Justice is judge in Venice.

    _Mar._                     If it were so,
    There now would be no Venice. But let it
    Live on, so the good die not, till the hour
    Of Nature's summons; but "the Ten's" is quicker,
    And we must wait on't. Ah! a voice of wail!
                                                    [_A faint cry within_.

    _Sen._ Hark!

    _Mem._      'Twas a cry of--

    _Mar._                       No, no; not my husband's--
    Not Foscari's.

    _Mem._      The voice was--

    _Mar._                    _Not his_: no.                           230
    He shriek! No; that should be his father's part,
    Not his--not his--he'll die in silence.
                                            [_A faint groan again within_.

    _Mem._                                  What!

    _Mar._ _His_ voice! it seemed so: I will not
    Believe it. Should he shrink, I cannot cease
    To love; but--no--no--no--it must have been
    A fearful pang, which wrung a groan from him.

    _Sen._ And, feeling for thy husband's wrongs, wouldst thou
    Have him bear more than mortal pain in silence?

    _Mar._ We all must bear our tortures. I have not
    Left barren the great house of Foscari,                            240
    Though they sweep both the Doge and son from life;
    I have endured as much in giving life
    To those who will succeed them, as they can
    In leaving it: but mine were joyful pangs:
    And yet they wrung me till I _could_ have shrieked,
    But did not; for my hope was to bring forth
    Heroes, and would not welcome them with tears.

    _Mem._ All's silent now.

    _Mar._                  Perhaps all's over; but
    I will not deem it: he hath nerved himself,
    And now defies them.

                       _Enter an Officer hastily_.

    _Mem._              How now, friend, what seek you?                250

    _Offi._ A leech. The prisoner has fainted.            [_Exit Officer_.

    _Mem._                                     Lady,
    'Twere better to retire.

    _Sen._ (_offering to assist her_), I pray thee do so.

    _Mar._ Off! _I_ will tend him.

    _Mem._                        You! Remember, lady!
    Ingress is given to none within those chambers
    Except "the Ten," and their familiars.

    _Mar._                                 Well,
    I know that none who enter there return
    As they have entered--many never; but
    They shall not balk my entrance.

    _Mem._                          Alas! this
    Is but to expose yourself to harsh repulse,
    And worse suspense.

    _Mar._             Who shall oppose me?

    _Mem._                                 They                        260
    Whose duty 'tis to do so.

    _Mar._                 'Tis _their_ duty
    To trample on all human feelings, all
    Ties which bind man to man, to emulate
    The fiends who will one day requite them in
    Variety of torturing! Yet I'll pass.

    _Mem._ It is impossible.

    _Mar._                 That shall be tried.[ay]
    Despair defies even despotism: there is
    That in my heart would make its way through hosts
    With levelled spears; and think you a few jailors
    Shall put me from my path? Give me, then, way;                     270
    This is the Doge's palace; I am wife
    Of the Duke's son, the _innocent_ Duke's son,
    And they shall hear this!

    _Mem._                   It will only serve
    More to exasperate his judges.

    _Mar._                         What
    Are _judges_ who give way to anger? they
    Who do so are assassins. Give me way.                  [_Exit_ MARINA.

    _Sen._ Poor lady!

    _Mem._            'Tis mere desperation: she
    Will not be admitted o'er the threshold.

    _Sen._                                  And
    Even if she be so, cannot save her husband.
    But, see, the officer returns.
                 [_The Officer passes over the stage with another person_.

    _Mem._                        I hardly                             280
    Thought that "the Ten" had even this touch of pity,
    Or would permit assistance to this sufferer.

    _Sen._ Pity! Is't pity to recall to feeling
    The wretch too happy to escape to Death
    By the compassionate trance, poor Nature's last
    Resource against the tyranny of pain?

    _Mem._ I marvel they condemn him not at once.

    _Sen._ That's not their policy: they'd have him live,
    Because he fears not death; and banish him,
    Because all earth, except his native land,                         290
    To him is one wide prison, and each breath
    Of foreign air he draws seems a slow poison,
    Consuming but not killing.

    _Mem._                    Circumstance
    Confirms his crimes, but he avows them not.

    _Sen._ None, save the Letter, which, he says, was written
    Addressed to Milan's duke, in the full knowledge
    That it would fall into the Senate's hands,
    And thus he should be re-conveyed to Venice.[45]

    _Mem._ But as a culprit.

    _Sen._                  Yes, but to his country;
    And that was all he sought,--so he avouches.                       300

    _Mem._ The accusation of the bribes was proved.

    _Sen._ Not clearly, and the charge of homicide
    Has been annulled by the death-bed confession
    Of Nicolas Erizzo, who slew the late
    Chief of "the Ten."[46]

    _Mem._            Then why not clear him?

    _Sen._                                    That
    They ought to answer; for it is well known
    That Almoro Donato, as I said,
    Was slain by Erizzo for private vengeance.

    _Mem._ There must be more in this strange process than
    The apparent crimes of the accused disclose--                      310
    But here come two of "the Ten;" let us retire.
                                            [_Exeunt_ MEMMO _and Senator_.

                    _Enter_ LOREDANO _and_ BARBARIGO.

    _Bar._ (_addressing_ LOR.).
    That were too much: believe me, 'twas not meet
    The trial should go further at this moment.

    _Lor._ And so the Council must break up, and Justice
    Pause in her full career, because a woman
    Breaks in on our deliberations?

    _Bar._                         No,
    That's not the cause; you saw the prisoner's state.

    _Lor._ And had he not recovered?

    _Bar._                           To relapse
    Upon the least renewal.

    _Lor._                 'Twas not tried.

    _Bar._ 'Tis vain to murmur; the majority                           320
    In council were against you.

    _Lor._                      Thanks to _you_, sir,
    And the old ducal dotard, who combined
    The worthy voices which o'er-ruled my own.

    _Bar._ I am a judge; but must confess that part
    Of our stern duty, which prescribes the Question,[47]
    And bids us sit and see its sharp infliction,
    Makes me wish--

    _Lor._          What?

    _Bar._               That _you_ would _sometimes_ feel,
    As I do always.

    _Lor._        Go to, you're a child,
    Infirm of feeling as of purpose, blown
    About by every breath, shook[48] by a sigh,                        330
    And melted by a tear--a precious judge
    For Venice! and a worthy statesman to
    Be partner in my policy.

    _Bar._                  He shed
    No tears.

    _Lor._   He cried out twice.

    _Bar._                      A Saint had done so,
    Even with the crown of Glory in his eye,
    At such inhuman artifice of pain
    As was forced on him; but he did not cry[az]
    For pity; not a word nor groan escaped him,
    And those two shrieks were not in supplication,
    But wrung from pangs, and followed by no prayers.                  340

    _Lor._ He muttered many times between his teeth,
    But inarticulately.[49]

    _Bar._              That I heard not:
    You stood more near him.

    _Lor._                   I did so.

    _Bar._                            Methought,
    To my surprise too, you were touched with mercy,
    And were the first to call out for assistance
    When he was failing.

    _Lor._              I believed that swoon
    His last.

    _Bar._    And have I not oft heard thee name
    His and his father's death your nearest wish?

    _Lor._ If he dies innocent, that is to say,
    With his guilt unavowed, he'll be lamented.                        350

    _Bar._ What, wouldst thou slay his memory?

    _Lor._                                    Wouldst thou have
    His state descend to his children, as it must,
    If he die unattainted?

    _Bar._                War with _them_ too?

    _Lor._ With all their house, till theirs or mine are nothing.

    _Bar._ And the deep agony of his pale wife,
    And the repressed convulsion of the high
    And princely brow of his old father, which
    Broke forth in a slight shuddering, though rarely,
    Or in some clammy drops, soon wiped away
    In stern serenity; these moved you not?                            360
                                                         [_Exit_ LOREDANO.
    He's silent in his hate, as Foscari
    Was in his suffering; and the poor wretch moved me
    More by his silence than a thousand outcries
    Could have effected. 'Twas a dreadful sight
    When his distracted wife broke through into
    The hall of our tribunal, and beheld
    What we could scarcely look upon, long used
    To such sights. I must think no more of this,
    Lest I forget in this compassion for
    Our foes, their former injuries, and lose                          370
    The hold of vengeance Loredano plans
    For him and me; but mine would be content
    With lesser retribution than he thirsts for,
    And I would mitigate his deeper hatred
    To milder thoughts; but, for the present, Foscari
    Has a short hourly respite, granted at
    The instance of the elders of the Council,
    Moved doubtless by his wife's appearance in
    The hall, and his own sufferings.--Lo! they come:
    How feeble and forlorn! I cannot bear                              380
    To look on them again in this extremity:
    I'll hence, and try to soften Loredano.[ba]
                                                        [_Exit_ BARBARIGO.

                                 ACT II.

                SCENE I.--_A hall in the_ DOGE'S _Palace_.

                       _The_ DOGE _and a Senator_.

    _Sen._ Is it your pleasure to sign the report
    Now, or postpone it till to-morrow?

    _Doge_.                            Now;
    I overlooked it yesterday: it wants
    Merely the signature. Give me the pen--
                              [_The_ DOGE _sits down and signs the paper_.
    There, Signor.

    _Sen._ (_looking at the paper_). You have forgot; it is not signed.

    _Doge_. Not signed? Ah, I perceive my eyes begin
    To wax more weak with age. I did not see
    That I had dipped the pen without effect.[bb]

    _Sen._ (_dipping the pen into the ink, and placing the paper
    before the_ DOGE). Your hand, too, shakes, my Lord: allow me, thus--

    _Doge_. 'Tis done, I thank you.

    _Sen._                          Thus the act confirmed              10
    By you and by "the Ten" gives peace to Venice.

    _Doge_. 'Tis long since she enjoyed it: may it be
    As long ere she resume her arms!

    _Sen._                          'Tis almost
    Thirty-four years of nearly ceaseless warfare
    With the Turk, or the powers of Italy;
    The state had need of some repose.

    _Doge_.                            No doubt:
    I found her Queen of Ocean, and I leave her
    Lady of Lombardy; it is a comfort[bc]
    That I have added to her diadem
    The gems of Brescia and Ravenna; Crema[50]                          20
    And Bergamo no less are hers; her realm
    By land has grown by thus much in my reign,
    While her sea-sway has not shrunk.

    _Sen._                           'Tis most true,
    And merits all our country's gratitude.

    _Doge_. Perhaps so.

    _Sen._              Which should be made manifest.

    _Doge_. I have not complained, sir.

    _Sen._                              My good Lord, forgive me.

    _Doge_. For what?

    _Sen._            My heart bleeds for you.

    _Doge_.                                  For me, Signor?

    _Sen._ And for your----

    _Doge_.                 Stop!

    _Sen._                        It must have way, my Lord:
    I have too many duties towards you
    And all your house, for past and present kindness,                  30
    Not to feel deeply for your son.

    _Doge_.                         Was this
    In your commission?

    _Sen._             What, my Lord?

    _Doge_.                          This prattle
    Of things you know not: but the treaty's signed;
    Return with it to them who sent you.

    _Sen._                              I
    Obey. I had in charge, too, from the Council,
    That you would fix an hour for their reunion.

    _Doge_. Say, when they will--now, even at this moment,
    If it so please them: I am the State's servant.

    _Sen._ They would accord some time for your repose.

    _Doge_. I have no repose, that is, none which shall cause           40
    The loss of an hour's time unto the State.
    Let them meet when they will, I shall be found
    _Where_ I should be, and _what_ I have been ever.
                           [_Exit Senator. The_ DOGE _remains in silence_.

                          _Enter an Attendant_.

    _Att._ Prince!

    _Doge_.       Say on.

    _Att._               The illustrious lady Foscari
    Requests an audience.

    _Doge_.               Bid her enter. Poor
               [_Exit Attendant. The_ DOGE _remains in silence as before_.

                             _Enter MARINA_.

    _Mar._      I have ventured, father, on
    Your privacy.

    _Doge_.      I have none from you, my child.
    Command my time, when not commanded by
    The State.

    _Mar._    I wished to speak to you of _him_.

    _Doge_. Your husband?                                               50

    _Mar._               And your son.

    _Doge_.                           Proceed, my daughter!

    _Mar._ I had obtained permission from "the Ten"
    To attend my husband for a limited number
    Of hours.

    _Doge_.   You had so.

    _Mar._                'Tis revoked.

    _Doge_.                             By whom?

    _Mar._ "The Ten."--When we had reached "the Bridge of Sighs,"[51]
    Which I prepared to pass with Foscari,
    The gloomy guardian of that passage first
    Demurred: a messenger was sent back to
    "The Ten;"--but as the Court no longer sate,
    And no permission had been given in writing,
    I was thrust back, with the assurance that                          60
    Until that high tribunal reassembled
    The dungeon walls must still divide us.

    _Doge_.                                True,
    The form has been omitted in the haste
    With which the court adjourned; and till it meets,
    'Tis dubious.

    _Mar._       Till it meets! and when it meets,
    They'll torture him again; and he and I
    Must purchase by renewal of the rack
    The interview of husband and of wife,
    The holiest tie beneath the Heavens!--Oh God!
    Dost thou see this?

    _Doge_.            Child--child----

    _Mar._ (_abruptly_).        Call _me_ not "child!"                  70
    You soon will have no children--you deserve none--
    You, who can talk thus calmly of a son
    In circumstances which would call forth tears
    Of blood from Spartans! Though these did not weep
    Their boys who died in battle, is it written
    That they beheld them perish piecemeal, nor
    Stretched forth a hand to save them?

    _Doge_.                             You behold me:
    I cannot weep--I would I could; but if
    Each white hair on this head were a young life,
    This ducal cap the Diadem of earth,                                 80
    This ducal ring with which I wed the waves
    A talisman to still them--I'd give all
    For him.

    _Mar._   With less he surely might be saved.

    _Doge_. That answer only shows you know not Venice.
    Alas! how should you? she knows not herself,
    In all her mystery. Hear me--they who aim
    At Foscari, aim no less at his father;
    The sire's destruction would not save the son;
    They work by different means to the same end,
    And that is--but they have not conquered yet.                       90

    _Mar._ But they have crushed.

    _Doge_.                        Nor crushed as yet--I live.

    _Mar._ And your son,--how long will he live?

    _Doge_.                                       I trust,
    For all that yet is past, as many years
    And happier than his father. The rash boy,
    With womanish impatience to return,
    Hath ruined all by that detected letter:
    A high crime, which I neither can deny
    Nor palliate, as parent or as Duke:
    Had he but borne a little, little longer
    His Candiote exile, I had hopes--he has quenched them--            100
    He must return.

    _Mar._         To exile?

    _Doge_.                 I have said it.

    _Mar._ And can I not go with him?

    _Doge_.                            You well know
    This prayer of yours was twice denied before
    By the assembled "Ten," and hardly now
    Will be accorded to a third request,
    Since aggravated errors on the part
    Of your Lord renders them still more austere.

    _Mar._ Austere? Atrocious! The old human fiends,
    With one foot in the grave, with dim eyes, strange
    To tears save drops of dotage, with long white[bd]                 110
    And scanty hairs, and shaking hands, and heads
    As palsied as their hearts are hard, they counsel,
    Cabal, and put men's lives out, as if Life
    Were no more than the feelings long extinguished
    In their accursed bosoms.

    _Doge_.                  You know not----

    _Mar._ I do--I do--and so should you, methinks--
    That these are demons: could it be else that
    Men, who have been of women born and suckled--
    Who have loved, or talked at least of Love--have given
    Their hands in sacred vows--have danced their babes                120
    Upon their knees, perhaps have mourned above them--
    In pain, in peril, or in death--who are,
    Or were, at least in seeming, human, could
    Do as they have done by yours, and you yourself--
    _You_, who abet them?

    _Doge_.              I forgive this, for
    You know not what you say.

    _Mar._                    _You_ know it well,
    And feel it nothing.

    _Doge_.             I have borne so much,
    That words have ceased to shake me.

    _Mar._                             Oh, no doubt!
    You have seen your son's blood flow, and your flesh shook not;
    And after that, what are a woman's words?                          130
    No more than woman's tears, that they should shake you.

    _Doge_. Woman, this clamorous grief of thine, I tell thee,
    Is no more in the balance weighed with that
    Which----but I pity thee, my poor Marina!

    _Mar._ Pity my husband, or I cast it from me;
    Pity thy son! _Thou_ pity!--'tis a word
    Strange to thy heart--how came it on thy lips?

    _Doge_. I must bear these reproaches, though they wrong me.
    Couldst thou but read----

    _Mar._                   'Tis not upon thy brow,
    Nor in thine eyes, nor in thine acts,--where then                  140
    Should I behold this sympathy? or shall?

    _Doge_ (_pointing downwards_). There.

    _Mar._                               In the earth?

    _Doge_.                                 To which I am tending: when
    It lies upon this heart, far lightlier, though
    Loaded with marble, than the thoughts which press it
    Now, you will know me better.

    _Mar._                       Are you, then,
    Indeed, thus to be pitied?

    _Doge_.                   Pitied! None
    Shall ever use that base word, with which men
    Cloak their soul's hoarded triumph, as a fit one
    To mingle with my name; that name shall be,
    As far as _I_ have borne it, what it was                           150
    When I received it.

    _Mar._             But for the poor children
    Of him thou canst not, or thou wilt not save,
    You were the last to bear it.

    _Doge_.                      Would it were so!
    Better for him he never had been born;
    Better for me.--I have seen our house dishonoured.

    _Mar._ That's false! A truer, nobler, trustier heart,
    More loving, or more loyal, never beat
    Within a human breast. I would not change
    My exiled, persecuted, mangled husband,
    Oppressed but not disgraced, crushed, overwhelmed,                 160
    Alive, or dead, for Prince or Paladin
    In story or in fable, with a world
    To back his suit. Dishonoured!--_he_ dishonoured!
    I tell thee, Doge, 'tis Venice is dishonoured;
    His name shall be her foulest, worst reproach,
    For what he suffers, not for what he did.
    'Tis ye who are all traitors, Tyrant!--ye!
    Did you but love your Country like this victim
    Who totters back in chains to tortures, and
    Submits to all things rather than to exile,                        170
    You'd fling yourselves before him, and implore
    His grace for your enormous guilt.

    _Doge_.                            He was
    Indeed all you have said. I better bore
    The deaths of the two sons[52] Heaven took from me,
    Than Jacopo's disgrace.

    _Mar._                 That word again?

    _Doge_. Has he not been condemned?

    _Mar._                            Is none but guilt so?

    _Doge_. Time may restore his memory--I would hope so.
    He was my pride, my----but 'tis useless now--
    I am not given to tears, but wept for joy
    When he was born: those drops were ominous.                        180

    _Mar._ I say he's innocent! And were he not so,
    Is our own blood and kin to shrink from us
    In fatal moments?

    _Doge_.          I shrank not from him:
    But I have other duties than a father's;
    The state would not dispense me from those duties;
    Twice I demanded it, but was refused:[53]
    They must then be fulfilled.

                          _Enter an Attendant_.

    _Att._                     A message from
    "The Ten."

    _Doge_.   Who bears it?

    _Att._                 Noble Loredano.

    _Doge_. He!--but admit him.                         [_Exit Attendant_.

    _Mar._                      Must I then retire?

    _Doge_. Perhaps it is not requisite, if this                       190
    Concerns your husband, and if not----Well, Signor,
                                                [_To_ LOREDANO _entering_.
    Your pleasure?

    _Lor._        I bear that of "the Ten."

    _Doge_.                                They
    Have chosen well their envoy.

    _Lor._                       'Tis _their_ choice
    Which leads me here.

    _Doge_.            It does their wisdom honour,
    And no less to their courtesy.--Proceed.

    _Lor._ We have decided.

    _Doge_.                  We?

    _Lor._                       "The Ten" in council.

    _Doge_. What! have they met again, and met without
    Apprising me?

    _Lor._       They wished to spare your feelings,
    No less than age.

    _Doge_.          That's new--when spared they either?
    I thank them, notwithstanding.

    _Lor._                        You know well                         200
    That they have power to act at their discretion,
    With or without the presence of the Doge.

    _Doge_. 'Tis some years since I learned this, long before
    I became Doge, or dreamed of such advancement.
    You need not school me, Signor; I sate in
    That Council when you were a young patrician.

    _Lor._ True, in my father's time; I have heard him and
    The Admiral, his brother, say as much.
    Your Highness may remember them; they both
    Died suddenly.[54]

    _Doge_.       And if they did so, better                           210
    So die than live on lingeringly in pain.

    _Lor._ No doubt: yet most men like to live their days out.

    _Doge_. And did not they?

    _Lor._                   The Grave knows best: they died,
    As I said, suddenly.

    _Doge_.             Is that so strange,
    That you repeat the word emphatically?

    _Lor._ So far from strange, that never was there death
    In my mind half so natural as theirs.
    Think _you_ not so?

    _Doge_.              What should I think of mortals?

    _Lor._ That they have mortal foes.

    _Doge_.                           I understand you;
    Your sires were mine, and you are heir in all things.              220

    _Lor._ You best know if I should be so.

    _Doge_.                                  I do.
    Your fathers were my foes, and I have heard
    Foul rumours were abroad; I have also read
    Their epitaph, attributing their deaths
    To poison. 'Tis perhaps as true as most
    Inscriptions upon tombs, and yet no less
    A fable.

    _Lor._   Who dares say so?

    _Doge_.                   I!----'Tis true
    Your fathers were mine enemies, as bitter
    As their son e'er can be, and I no less
    Was theirs; but I was _openly_ their foe:                          230
    I never worked by plot in Council, nor
    Cabal in commonwealth, nor secret means
    Of practice against life by steel or drug.
    The proof is--your existence.

    _Lor._                       I fear not.

    _Doge_. You have no cause, being what I am; but were I
    That you would have me thought, you long ere now
    Were past the sense of fear. Hate on; I care not.

    _Lor._ I never yet knew that a noble's life
    In Venice had to dread a Doge's frown,
    That is, by open means.

    _Doge_.                But I, good Signor,                         240
    Am, or at least _was_, more than a mere duke,
    In blood, in mind, in means; and that they know
    Who dreaded to elect me, and have since
    Striven all they dare to weigh me down: be sure,
    Before or since that period, had I held you
    At so much price as to require your absence,
    A word of mine had set such spirits to work
    As would have made you nothing. But in all things
    I have observed the strictest reverence;
    Not for the laws alone, for those _you_ have strained              250
    (I do not speak of _you_ but as a single
    Voice of the many) somewhat beyond what
    I could enforce for my authority,
    Were I disposed to brawl; but, as I said,
    I have observed with veneration, like
    A priest's for the High Altar, even unto
    The sacrifice of my own blood and quiet,
    Safety, and all save honour, the decrees,
    The health, the pride, and welfare of the State.
    And now, sir, to your business.

    _Lor._                        'Tis decreed,                        260
    That, without further repetition of
    The Question, or continuance of the trial,
    Which only tends to show how stubborn guilt is,
    ("The Ten," dispensing with the stricter law
    Which still prescribes the Question till a full
    Confession, and the prisoner partly having
    Avowed his crime in not denying that
    The letter to the Duke of Milan's his),
    James Foscari return to banishment,
    And sail in the same galley which conveyed him.                    270

    _Mar._ Thank God! At least they will not drag him more
    Before that horrible tribunal. Would he
    But think so, to my mind the happiest doom,
    Not he alone, but all who dwell here, could
    Desire, were to escape from such a land.

    _Doge_. That is not a Venetian thought, my daughter.

    _Mar._ No, 'twas too human. May I share his exile?

    _Lor._ Of this "the Ten" said nothing.

    _Mar._                                 So I thought!
    That were too human, also. But it was not

    _Lor._    It was not named.

    _Mar. (to the Doge_).      Then, father,                           280
    Surely you can obtain or grant me thus much:
                                                           [_To_ LOREDANO.
    And you, sir, not oppose my prayer to be
    Permitted to accompany my husband.

    _Doge_. I will endeavour.

    _Mar._                   And you, Signor?

    _Lor._                                   Lady!
    'Tis not for me to anticipate the pleasure
    Of the tribunal.

    _Mar._          Pleasure! what a word
    To use for the decrees of----

    _Doge_.                   Daughter, know you
    In what a presence you pronounce these things?

    _Mar._ A Prince's and his subject's.

    _Lor._                               Subject!

    _Mar._                                       Oh!
    It galls you:--well, you are his equal, as                         290
    You think; but that you are not, nor would be,
    Were he a peasant:--well, then, you're a Prince,
    A princely noble; and what then am I?

    _Lor._ The offspring of a noble house.

    _Mar._                                And wedded
    To one as noble. What, or whose, then, is
    The presence that should silence my free thoughts?

    _Lor._ The presence of your husband's Judges.

    _Doge_.                                       And
    The deference due even to the lightest word
    That falls from those who rule in Venice.

    _Mar._                                    Keep
    Those maxims for your mass of scared mechanics,                    300
    Your merchants, your Dalmatian and Greek slaves,
    Your tributaries, your dumb citizens,
    And masked nobility, your sbirri, and
    Your spies, your galley and your other slaves,
    To whom your midnight carryings off and drownings,
    Your dungeons next the palace roofs, or under
    The water's level;[55] your mysterious meetings,
    And unknown dooms, and sudden executions,
    Your "Bridge of Sighs," your strangling chamber, and
    Your torturing instruments, have made ye seem                      310
    The beings of another and worse world!
    Keep such for them: I fear ye not. I know ye;[be]
    Have known and proved your worst, in the infernal
    Process of my poor husband! Treat me as
    Ye treated him:--you did so, in so dealing
    With him. Then what have I to fear _from_ you,
    Even if I were of fearful nature, which
    I trust I am not?

    _Doge_.          You hear, she speaks wildly.

    _Mar._ Not wisely, yet not wildly.

    _Lor._                             Lady! words
    Uttered within these walls I bear no further                       320
    Than to the threshold, saving such as pass
    Between the Duke and me on the State's service.
    Doge! have you aught in answer?

    _Doge_.                        Something from
    The Doge; it may be also from a parent.

    _Lor._ My mission _here_ is to the _Doge_.

    _Doge_.                                   Then say
    The Doge will choose his own ambassador,
    Or state in person what is meet; and for
    The father----

    _Lor._        I remember _mine_.--Farewell!
    I kiss the hands of the illustrious Lady,
    And bow me to the Duke.                              [_Exit_ LOREDANO.

    _Mar._                 Are you content?                           330

    _Doge_. I am what you behold.

    _Mar._                       And that's a mystery.

    _Doge_. All things are so to mortals; who can read them
    Save he who made? or, if they can, the few
    And gifted spirits, who have studied long
    That loathsome volume--man, and pored upon
    Those black and bloody leaves, his heart and brain,[bf]
    But learn a magic which recoils upon
    The adept who pursues it: all the sins
    We find in others, Nature made our own;
    All our advantages are those of Fortune;                           340
    Birth, wealth, health, beauty, are her accidents,
    And when we cry out against Fate, 'twere well
    We should remember Fortune can take nought
    Save what she _gave_--the rest was nakedness,
    And lusts, and appetites, and vanities,
    The universal heritage, to battle
    With as we may, and least in humblest stations,[bg]
    Where Hunger swallows all in one low want,[bh]
    And the original ordinance, that man
    Must sweat for his poor pittance, keeps all passions               350
    Aloof, save fear of famine! All is low,
    And false, and hollow--clay from first to last,
    The Prince's urn no less than potter's vessel.
    Our Fame is in men's breath, our lives upon
    Less than their breath; our durance upon days[bi]
    Our days on seasons; our whole being on
    Something which is not _us_![56]--So, we are slaves,
    The greatest as the meanest--nothing rests
    Upon our will; the will itself no less[bj]
    Depends upon a straw than on a storm;                              360
    And when we think we lead, we are most led,[57]
    And still towards Death, a thing which comes as much
    Without our act or choice as birth, so that
    Methinks we must have sinned in some old world,
    And _this_ is Hell: the best is, that it is not

    _Mar._ These are things we cannot judge
    On earth.

    _Doge_. And how then shall we judge each other,
    Who are all earth, and I, who am called upon
    To judge my son? I have administered
    My country faithfully--victoriously--                              370
    I dare them to the proof, the _chart_ of what
    She was and is: my reign has doubled realms;
    And, in reward, the gratitude of Venice
    Has left, or is about to leave, _me_ single.

    _Mar._ And Foscari? I do not think of such things,
    So I be left with him.

    _Doge_.               You shall be so;
    Thus much they cannot well deny.

    _Mar._                          And if
    They should, I will fly with him.

    _Doge_.                         That can ne'er be.
    And whither would you fly?

    _Mar._                    I know not, reck not--
    To Syria, Egypt, to the Ottoman--                                  380
    Any where, where we might respire unfettered,
    And live nor girt by spies, nor liable
    To edicts of inquisitors of state.

    _Doge_. What, wouldst thou have a renegade for husband,
    And turn him into traitor?

    _Mar._                    He is none!
    The Country is the traitress, which thrusts forth
    Her best and bravest from her. Tyranny
    Is far the worst of treasons. Dost thou deem
    None rebels except subjects? The Prince who
    Neglects or violates his trust is more                             390
    A brigand than the robber-chief.

    _Doge_.                          I cannot
    Charge me with such a breach of faith.

    _Mar_                                 No; thou
    Observ'st, obey'st such laws as make old Draco's
    A code of mercy by comparison.

    _Doge_. I found the law; I did not make it. Were I
    A subject, still I might find parts and portions
    Fit for amendment; but as Prince, I never
    Would change, for the sake of my house, the charter
    Left by our fathers.

    _Mar._              Did they make it for
    The ruin of their children?

    _Doge_.                    Under such laws, Venice                 400
    Has risen to what she is--a state to rival
    In deeds, and days, and sway, and, let me add,
    In glory (for we have had Roman spirits
    Amongst us), all that history has bequeathed
    Of Rome and Carthage in their best times, when
    The people swayed by Senates.

    _Mar._                       Rather say,
    Groaned under the stern Oligarchs.

    _Doge_.                           Perhaps so;
    But yet subdued the World: in such a state
    An individual, be he richest of
    Such rank as is permitted, or the meanest,                         410
    Without a name, is alike nothing, when
    The policy, irrevocably tending
    To one great end, must be maintained in vigour.

    _Mar._ This means that you are more a Doge than father.

    _Doge_. It means, I am more citizen than either.
    If we had not for many centuries
    Had thousands of such citizens, and shall,
    I trust, have still such, Venice were no city.

    _Mar._ Accursed be the city where the laws
    Would stifle Nature's!

    _Doge_.               Had I as many sons                           420
    As I have years, I would have given them all,
    Not without feeling, but I would have given them
    To the State's service, to fulfil her wishes,
    On the flood, in the field, or, if it must be,
    As it, alas! has been, to ostracism,
    Exile, or chains, or whatsoever worse
    She might decree.

    _Mar._           And this is Patriotism?
    To me it seems the worst barbarity.
    Let me seek out my husband: the sage "Ten,"
    With all its jealousy, will hardly war                             430
    So far with a weak woman as deny me
    A moment's access to his dungeon.

    _Doge_.                          I'll
    So far take on myself, as order that
    You may be admitted.

    _Mar._              And what shall I say
    To Foscari from his father?

    _Doge_.                    That he obey
    The laws.

    _Mar._   And nothing more? Will you not see him
    Ere he depart? It may be the last time.

    _Doge_. The last!--my boy!--the last time I shall see
    My last of children! Tell him I will come.                  [_Exeunt_.

                                 ACT III.

                SCENE I.--_The prison of_ JACOPO FOSCARI.

    _Jac. Fos._ (_solus_).
    No light, save yon faint gleam which shows me walls
    Which never echoed but to Sorrow's sounds,[58]
    The sigh of long imprisonment, the step
    Of feet on which the iron clanked the groan
    Of Death, the imprecation of Despair!
    And yet for this I have returned to Venice,
    With some faint hope, 'tis true, that Time, which wears
    The marble down, had worn away the hate
    Of men's hearts; but I knew them not, and here
    Must I consume my own, which never beat                             10
    For Venice but with such a yearning as
    The dove has for her distant nest, when wheeling
    High in the air on her return to greet
    Her callow brood. What letters are these which
                                                  [_Approaching the wall_.
    Are scrawled along the inexorable wall?
    Will the gleam let me trace them? Ah! the names
    Of my sad predecessors in this place,[59]
    The dates of their despair, the brief words of
    A grief too great for many. This stone page
    Holds like an epitaph their history;                                20
    And the poor captive's tale is graven on
    His dungeon barrier, like the lover's record
    Upon the bark of some tall tree,[60] which bears
    His own and his beloved's name. Alas!
    I recognise some names familiar to me,
    And blighted like to mine, which I will add,
    Fittest for such a chronicle as this,
    Which only can be read, as writ, by wretches.[bk]
                                                  [_He engraves his name_.

                     _Enter a Familiar of "the Ten."_

    _Fam._ I bring you food.

    _Jac. Fos._             I pray you set it down;
    I am past hunger: but my lips are parched--                         30
    The water!

    _Fam._    There.

    _Jac. Fos._ (_after drinking_). I thank you: I am better.

    _Fam._ I am commanded to inform you that
    Your further trial is postponed.

    _Jac. Fos._                     Till when?

    _Fam._ I know not.--It is also in my orders
    That your illustrious lady be admitted.

    _Jac. Fos._ Ah! they relent, then--I had ceased to hope it:
    'Twas time.

                             _Enter_ MARINA.

    _Mar._     My best beloved!

    _Jac. Fos._ (_embracing her_). My true wife,
    And only friend! What happiness!

    _Mar._                       We'll part
    No more.

    _Jac. Fos._ How! would'st thou share a dungeon?

    _Mar._                                         Aye,
    The rack, the grave, all--any thing with thee,                      40
    But the tomb last of all, for there we shall
    Be ignorant of each other, yet I will
    Share that--all things except new separation;
    It is too much to have survived the first.
    How dost thou? How are those worn limbs? Alas!
    Why do I ask? Thy paleness----

    _Jac. Fos._               'Tis the joy
    Of seeing thee again so soon, and so
    Without expectancy, has sent the blood
    Back to my heart, and left my cheeks like thine,
    For thou art pale too, my Marina!

    _Mar._                           'Tis                              50
    The gloom of this eternal cell, which never
    Knew sunbeam, and the sallow sullen glare
    Of the familiar's torch, which seems akin[bl]
    To darkness more than light, by lending to
    The dungeon vapours its bituminous smoke,
    Which cloud whate'er we gaze on, even thine eyes--
    No, not thine eyes--they sparkle--how they sparkle!

    _Jac. Fos._ And thine!--but I am blinded by the torch.

    _Mar._ As I had been without it. Couldst thou see here?

    _Jac. Fos._ Nothing at first; but use and time had taught me        60
    Familiarity with what was darkness;
    And the grey twilight of such glimmerings as
    Glide through the crevices made by the winds
    Was kinder to mine eyes than the full Sun,
    When gorgeously o'ergilding any towers
    Save those of Venice; but a moment ere
    Thou earnest hither I was busy writing.

    _Mar._ What?

    _Jac. Fos._   My name: look, 'tis there--recorded next
    The name of him who here preceded me,--
    If dungeon dates say true.

    _Mar._                    And what of him?                          70

    _Jac. Fos._ These walls are silent of men's ends; they only
    Seem to hint shrewdly of them. Such stern walls
    Were never piled on high save o'er the dead,
    Or those who soon must be so.--_What of him?_
    Thou askest.--What of me? may soon be asked,
    With the like answer--doubt and dreadful surmise--
    Unless thou tell'st my tale.

    _Mar._                     _I speak_ of thee!

    _Jac. Fos._ And wherefore not? All then shall speak of me:
    The tyranny of silence is not lasting,
    And, though events be hidden, just men's groans                     80
    Will burst all cerement, even a living grave's!
    I do not _doubt_ my memory, but my life;
    And neither do I fear.

    _Mar._                Thy life is safe.

    _Jac. Fos._ And liberty?

    _Mar._                  The mind should make its own!

    _Jac. Fos._ That has a noble sound; but 'tis a sound,
    A music most impressive, but too transient:
    The Mind is much, but is not all. The Mind
    Hath nerved me to endure the risk of death,
    And torture positive, far worse than death
    (If death be a deep sleep), without a groan,                        90
    Or with a cry which rather shamed my judges
    Than me; but 'tis not all, for there are things
    More woful--such as this small dungeon, where
    I may breathe many years.

    _Mar._                 Alas! and this
    Small dungeon is all that belongs to thee
    Of this wide realm, of which thy sire is Prince.

    _Jac. Fos._ That thought would scarcely aid me to endure it.
    My doom is common; many are in dungeons,
    But none like mine, so near their father's palace;
    But then my heart is sometimes high, and hope                      100
    Will stream along those moted rays of light
    Peopled with dusty atoms, which afford
    Our only day; for, save the gaoler's torch,
    And a strange firefly, which was quickly caught
    Last night in yon enormous spider's net,
    I ne'er saw aught here like a ray. Alas!
    I know if mind may bear us up, or no,
    For I have such, and shown it before men;
    It sinks in solitude: my soul is social.

    _Mar._ I will be with thee.

    _Jac. Fos._              Ah! if it were so!                        110
    But _that_ they never granted--nor will grant,
    And I shall be alone: no men; no books--
    Those lying likenesses of lying men.
    I asked for even those outlines of their kind,
    Which they term annals, history, what you will,
    Which men bequeath as portraits, and they were
    Refused me,--so these walls have been my study,
    More faithful pictures of Venetian story,
    With all their blank, or dismal stains, than is
    The Hall not far from hence, which bears on high                   120
    Hundreds of Doges, and their deeds and dates.

    _Mar._ I come to tell thee the result of their
    Last council on thy doom.

    _Jac. Fos._            I know it--look!

                     [_He points to his limbs, as referring to the Question
                         which he had undergone_.

    _Mar._ No--no--no more of that: even they relent
    From that atrocity.

    _Jac. Fos._      What then?

    _Mar._                       That you
    Return to Candia.

    _Jac. Fos._      Then my last hope's gone.
    I could endure my dungeon, for 'twas Venice;
    I could support the torture, there was something
    In my native air that buoyed my spirits up
    Like a ship on the Ocean tossed by storms,                         130
    But proudly still bestriding[61] the high waves,
    And holding on its course; but _there_, afar,
    In that accursed isle of slaves and captives,
    And unbelievers, like a stranded wreck,
    My very soul seemed mouldering in my bosom,
    And piecemeal I shall perish, if remanded.

    _Mar._ And _here_?

    _Jac. Fos._         At once--by better means, as briefer.[bm]
    What! would they even deny me my Sire's sepulchre,
    As well as home and heritage?

    _Mar._                       My husband!
    I have sued to accompany thee hence,                               140
    And not so hopelessly. This love of thine
    For an ungrateful and tyrannic soil
    Is Passion, and not Patriotism; for me,
    So I could see thee with a quiet aspect,
    And the sweet freedom of the earth and air,
    I would not cavil about climes or regions.
    This crowd of palaces and prisons is not
    A Paradise; its first inhabitants
    Were wretched exiles.

    _Jac. Fos._           Well I know _how_ wretched!

    _Mar._ And yet you see how, from their banishment                  150
    Before the Tartar into these salt isles,
    Their antique energy of mind, all that
    Remained of Rome for their inheritance,
    Created by degrees an ocean Rome;[62]
    And shall an evil, which so often leads
    To good, depress thee thus?

    _Jac. Fos._                Had I gone forth
    From my own land, like the old patriarchs, seeking
    Another region, with their flocks and herds;
    Had I been cast out like the Jews from Zion,
    Or like our fathers, driven by Attila[63]                          160
    From fertile Italy, to barren islets,
    I would have given some tears to my late country
    And many thoughts; but afterwards addressed
    Myself, with those about me, to create
    A new home and fresh state: perhaps I could
    Have borne this--though I know not.

    _Mar._                             Wherefore not?
    It was the lot of millions, and must be
    The fate of myriads more.

    _Jac. Fos._              Aye--we but hear
    Of the survivors' toil in their new lands,
    Their numbers and success; but who can number                      170
    The hearts which broke in silence at that parting,
    Or after their departure; of that malady[64]
    Which calls up green and native fields to view
    From the rough deep, with such identity
    To the poor exile's fevered eye, that he
    Can scarcely be restrained from treading them?
    That melody,[65] which out of tones and tunes[bn]
    Collects such pasture for the longing sorrow
    Of the sad mountaineer, when far away
    From his snow canopy of cliffs and clouds,                         180
    That he feeds on the sweet, but poisonous thought,
    And dies.[66] You call this _weakness_! It is strength,
    I say,--the parent of all honest feeling.
    He who loves not his Country, can love nothing.

    _Mar._ Obey her, then: 'tis she that puts thee forth.

    _Jac. Fos._ Aye, there it is; 'tis like a mother's curse
    Upon my soul--the mark is set upon me.
    The exiles you speak of went forth by nations,
    Their hands upheld each other by the way,
    Their tents were pitched together--I'm alone.                      190

    _Mar._ You shall be so no more--I will go with thee.

    _Jac. Fos._ My best Marina!--and our children?

    _Mar._                                        They,
    I fear, by the prevention of the state's
    Abhorrent policy, (which holds all ties
    As threads, which may be broken at her pleasure),
    Will not be suffered to proceed with us.

    _Jac. Fos._ And canst thou leave them?

    _Mar._                                Yes--with many a pang!
    But--I _can_ leave them, children as they are,
    To teach you to be less a child. From this
    Learn you to sway your feelings, when exacted                      200
    By duties paramount; and 'tis our first
    On earth to bear.

    _Jac. Fos._      Have I not borne?

    _Mar._                            Too much
    From tyrannous injustice, and enough
    To teach you not to shrink now from a lot,
    Which, as compared with what you have undergone
    Of late, is mercy.

    _Jac. Fos._       Ah! you never yet
    Were far away from Venice, never saw
    Her beautiful towers in the receding distance,
    While every furrow of the vessel's track
    Seemed ploughing deep into your heart; you never                   210
    Saw day go down upon your native spires[bo]
    So calmly with its gold and crimson glory,
    And after dreaming a disturbed vision
    Of them and theirs, awoke and found them not.

    _Mar._ I will divide this with you. Let us think
    Of our departure from this much-loved city,
    (Since you must _love_ it, as it seems,) and this
    Chamber of state, her gratitude allots you.
    Our children will be cared for by the Doge,
    And by my uncles; we must sail ere night.                          220

    _Jac. Fos._ That's sudden. Shall I not behold my father?

    _Mar._ You will.

    _Jac. Fos._     Where?

    _Mar._                Here, or in the ducal chamber--
    He said not which. I would that you could bear
    Your exile as he bears it.

    _Jac. Fos._               Blame him not.
    I sometimes murmur for a moment; but
    He could not now act otherwise. A show
    Of feeling or compassion on his part
    Would have but drawn upon his aged head
    Suspicion from "the Ten," and upon mine
    Accumulated ills.

    _Mar._           Accumulated!                                      230
    What pangs are those they have spared you?

    _Jac. Fos._                               That of leaving
    Venice without beholding him or you,
    Which might have been forbidden now, as 'twas
    Upon my former exile.

    _Mar._               That is true,
    And thus far I am also the State's debtor,
    And shall be more so when I see us both
    Floating on the free waves--away--away--
    Be it to the earth's end, from this abhorred,
    Unjust, and----

    _Jac. Fos._    Curse it not. If I am silent,
    Who dares accuse my Country?

    _Mar._                     Men and Angels!                         240
    The blood of myriads reeking up to Heaven,
    The groans of slaves in chains, and men in dungeons,
    Mothers, and wives, and sons, and sires, and subjects,
    Held in the bondage of ten bald-heads; and
    Though last, not least, _thy silence! Couldst thou_ say
    Aught in its favour, who would praise like _thee_?

    _Jac. Fos._ Let us address us then, since so it must be,
    To our departure. Who comes here?

                _Enter_ LOREDANO _attended by Familiars_.

    _Lor._ (_to the Familiars_).       Retire,
    But leave the torch.                      [_Exeunt the two Familiars_.

    _Jac. Fos._         Most welcome, noble Signor.
    I did not deem this poor place could have drawn                    250
    Such presence hither.

    _Lor._               'Tis not the first time
    I have visited these places.

    _Mar._                      Nor would be
    The last, were all men's merits well rewarded.
    Came you here to insult us, or remain[bp]
    As spy upon us, or as hostage for us?

    _Lor._ Neither are of my office, noble Lady!
    I am sent hither to your husband, to
    Announce "the Ten's" decree.

    _Mar._                      That tenderness
    Has been anticipated: it is known.

    _Lor._ As how?

    _Mar._         I have informed him, not so gently,                 260
    Doubtless, as your nice feelings would prescribe,
    The indulgence of your colleagues; but he knew it.
    If you come for our thanks, take them, and hence!
    The dungeon gloom is deep enough without you,
    And full of reptiles, not less loathsome, though
    Their sting is honester.

    _Jac. Fos._             I pray you, calm you:
    What can avail such words?

    _Mar._                   To let him know
    That he is known.

    _Lor._           Let the fair dame preserve
    Her sex's privilege.

    _Mar._              I have some sons, sir,
    Will one day thank you better.

    _Lor._                        You do well                          270
    To nurse them wisely. Foscari--you know
    Your sentence, then?

    _Jac. Fos._        Return to Candia?

    _Lor._                               True--
    For life.

    _Jac. Fos._ Not long.

    _Lor._               I said--for _life_.

    _Jac. Fos._                              And I
    Repeat--not long.

    _Lor._        A year's imprisonment
    In Canea--afterwards the freedom of
    The whole isle.

    _Jac. Fos._      Both the same to me: the after
    Freedom as is the first imprisonment.
    Is't true my wife accompanies me?

    _Lor._                           Yes,
    If she so wills it.

    _Mar._             Who obtained that justice?

    _Lor._ One who wars not with women.

    _Mar._                              But oppresses                  280
    Men: howsoever let him have _my_ thanks
    For the only boon I would have asked or taken
    From him or such as he is.

    _Lor._                     He receives them
    As they are offered.

    _Mar._              May they thrive with him
    So much!--no more.

    _Jac. Fos._        Is this, sir, your whole mission?
    Because we have brief time for preparation,
    And you perceive your presence doth disquiet
    This lady, of a house noble as yours.

    _Mar._ Nobler!

    _Lor._          How nobler?

    _Mar._                     As more generous!
    We say the "generous steed" to express the purity 290
    Of his high blood. Thus much I've learnt, although
    Venetian (who see few steeds save of bronze),[67]
    From those Venetians who have skirred[68] the coasts
    Of Egypt and her neighbour Araby:
    And why not say as soon the "_generous man_?"
    If race be aught, it is in qualities
    More than in years; and mine, which is as old
    As yours, is better in its product, nay--
    Look not so stern--but get you back, and pore
    Upon your genealogic tree's most green                             300
    Of leaves and most mature of fruits, and there
    Blush to find ancestors, who would have blushed
    For such a son--thou cold inveterate hater!

    _Jac. Fos._ Again, Marina!

    _Mar._                       Again! _still_, Marina.
    See you not, he comes here to glut his hate
    With a last look upon our misery?
    Let him partake it!

    _Jac. Fos._       That were difficult.

    _Mar._ Nothing more easy. He partakes it now--
    Aye, he may veil beneath a marble brow
    And sneering lip the pang, but he partakes it.                     310
    A few brief words of truth shame the Devil's servants
    No less than Master; I have probed his soul
    A moment, as the Eternal Fire, ere long,
    Will reach it always. See how he shrinks from me!
    With death, and chains, and exile in his hand,
    To scatter o'er his kind as he thinks fit;
    They are his weapons, not his armour, for
    I have pierced him to the core of his cold heart.
    I care not for his frowns! We can but die,
    And he but live, for him the very worst                            320
    Of destinies: each day secures him more
    His tempter's.

    _Jac. Fos._     This is mere insanity.

    _Mar._ It may be so; and _who_ hath made us _mad_?

    _Lor._ Let her go on; it irks not me.

    _Mar._                                 That's false!
    You came here to enjoy a heartless triumph
    Of cold looks upon manifold griefs! You came
    To be sued to in vain--to mark our tears,
    And hoard our groans--to gaze upon the wreck
    Which you have made a Prince's son--my husband;
    In short, to trample on the fallen--an office                      330
    The hangman shrinks from, as all men from him!
    How have you sped? We are wretched, Signor, as
    Your plots could make, and vengeance could desire us,
    And how _feel you_?

    _Lor._             As rocks.

    _Mar._                       By thunder blasted:
    They feel not, but no less are shivered. Come,
    Foscari; now let us go, and leave this felon,
    The sole fit habitant of such a cell,
    Which he has peopled often, but ne'er fitly
    Till he himself shall brood in it alone.

                            _Enter the_ DOGE.

    _Jac. Fos._ My father!

    _Doge_ (_embracing him_). Jacopo! my son--my son!                  340

    _Jac. Fos._ My father still! How long it is since I
    Have heard thee name my name--_our_ name!

    _Doge_.                                  My boy!
    Couldst thou but know----

    _Jac. Fos._               I rarely, sir, have murmured.

    _Doge_. I feel too much thou hast not.

    _Mar._                                Doge, look there!
                                                [_She points to_ LOREDANO.

    _Doge_. I see the man--what mean'st thou?

    _Mar._                                   Caution!

    _Lor._                                            Being
    The virtue which this noble lady most[bq]
    May practise, she doth well to recommend it.

    _Mar._ Wretch! 'tis no virtue, but the policy
    Of those who fain must deal perforce with vice:
    As such I recommend it, as I would                                 350
    To one whose foot was on an adder's path.

    _Doge_. Daughter, it is superfluous; I have long
    Known Loredano.

    _Lor._         You may know him better.

    _Mar._ Yes; _worse_ he could not.

    _Jac. Fos._                      Father, let not these
    Our parting hours be lost in listening to
    Reproaches, which boot nothing. Is it--is it,
    Indeed, our last of meetings?

    _Doge_.                      You behold
    These white hairs!

    _Jac. Fos._     And I feel, besides, that mine
    Will never be so white. Embrace me, father!
    I loved you ever--never more than now.                             360
    Look to my children--to your last child's children:
    Let them be all to you which he was once,
    And never be to you what I am now.
    May I not see _them_ also?

    _Mar._                    No--not _here_.

    _Jac. Fos._ They might behold their parent any where.

    _Mar._ I would that they beheld their father in
    A place which would not mingle fear with love,
    To freeze their young blood in its natural current.
    They have fed well, slept soft, and knew not that
    Their sire was a mere hunted outlaw. Well,                         370
    I know his fate may one day be their heritage,
    But let it only be their _heritage_,
    And not their present fee. Their senses, though
    Alive to love, are yet awake to terror;
    And these vile damps, too, and yon _thick green_ wave
    Which floats above the place where we now stand--
    A cell so far below the water's level,
    Sending its pestilence through every crevice,
    Might strike them: _this is not their_ atmosphere,
    However you--and you--and most of all,                             380
    As worthiest--_you_, sir, noble Loredano!
    May breathe it without prejudice.

    _Jac. Fos._                      I had not
    Reflected upon this, but acquiesce.
    I shall depart, then, without meeting them?

    _Doge_. Not so: they shall await you in my chamber.

    _Jac. Fos._ And must I leave them--_all_?

    _Lor._                                    You must.

    _Jac. Fos._                                         Not one?

    _Lor._ They are the State's.

    _Mar._                      I thought they had been mine.

    _Lor._ They are, in all maternal things.

    _Mar._                                   That is,
    In all things painful. If they're sick, they will
    Be left to me to tend them; should they die,                       390
    To me to bury and to mourn; but if
    They live, they'll make you soldiers, senators,
    Slaves, exiles--what _you_ will; or if they are
    Females with portions, brides and _bribes_ for nobles!
    Behold the State's care for its sons and mothers!

    _Lor._ The hour approaches, and the wind is fair.

    _Jac. Fos._ How know you that here, where the genial wind
    Ne'er blows in all its blustering freedom?

    _Lor._                                 'Twas so
    When I came here. The galley floats within
    A bow-shot of the "Riva di Schiavoni." 400

    _Jac. Fos._ Father! I pray you to precede me, and
    Prepare my children to behold their father.

    _Doge_. Be firm, my son!

    _Jac. Fos._             I will do my endeavour.

    _Mar._ Farewell! at least to this detested dungeon,
    And him to whose good offices you owe
    In part your past imprisonment.

    _Lor._                         And present

    _Doge_.    He speaks truth.

    _Jac. Fos._                No doubt! but 'tis
    Exchange of chains for heavier chains I owe him.
    He knows this, or he had not sought to change them,
    But I reproach not.

    _Lor._           The time narrows, Signor.                         410

    _Jac. Fos._ Alas! I little thought so lingeringly
    To leave abodes like this: but when I feel
    That every step I take, even from this cell,
    Is one away from Venice, I look back
    Even on these dull damp walls, and----

    _Doge_.                               Boy! no tears.

    _Mar._ Let them flow on: he wept not on the rack
    To shame him, and they cannot shame him now.
    They will relieve his heart--that too kind heart--
    And I will find an hour to wipe away
    Those tears, or add my own. I could weep now,                      420
    But would not gratify yon wretch so far.
    Let us proceed. Doge, lead the way.

    _Lor._ (_to the Familiar_).        The torch, there!

    _Mar._ Yes, light us on, as to a funeral pyre,
    With Loredano mourning like an heir.

    _Doge_. My son, you are feeble; take this hand.

    _Jac. Fos._                                    Alas!
    Must youth support itself on age, and I
    Who ought to be the prop of yours?

    _Lor._                            Take mine.

    _Mar._ Touch it not, Foscari; 'twill sting you. Signor,
    Stand off! be sure, that if a grasp of yours
    Would raise us from the gulf wherein we are plunged,               430
    No hand of ours would stretch itself to meet it.
    Come, Foscari, take the hand the altar gave you;
    It could not save, but will support you ever.               [_Exeunt_.

                                 ACT IV.

                 SCENE I.--_A Hall in the Ducal Palace_.

                    _Enter_ LOREDANO _and_ BARBARIGO.

    _Bar._ And have you confidence in such a project?

    _Lor._ I have.

    _Bar._         'Tis hard upon his years.

    _Lor._                                  Say rather
    Kind to relieve him from the cares of State.

    _Bar._ 'Twill break his heart.

    _Lor._                        Age has no heart to break.
    He has seen his son's half broken, and, except
    A start of feeling in his dungeon, never

    _Bar._   In his countenance, I grant you, never;
    But I have seen him sometimes in a calm
    So desolate, that the most clamorous grief
    Had nought to envy him within. Where is he?                         10

    _Lor._ In his own portion of the palace, with
    His son, and the whole race of Foscaris.

    _Bar._ Bidding farewell.

    _Lor._                   A last! as, soon, he shall
    Bid to his Dukedom.

    _Bar._             When embarks the son?

    _Lor._ Forthwith--when this long leave is taken. 'Tis
    Time to admonish them again.

    _Bar._                      Forbear;
    Retrench not from their moments.

    _Lor._                          Not I, now
    We have higher business for our own. This day
    Shall be the last of the old Doge's reign,
    As the first of his son's last banishment,                          20
    And that is vengeance.

    _Bar._                In my mind, too deep.

    _Lor._ 'Tis moderate--not even life for life, the rule
    Denounced of retribution from all time;
    They owe me still my father's and my uncle's.

    _Bar._ Did not the Doge deny this strongly?

    _Lor._                                      Doubtless.

    _Bar._ And did not this shake your suspicion?

    _Lor._                                        No.

    _Bar._ But if this deposition should take place
    By our united influence in the Council,
    It must be done with all the deference
    Due to his years, his station, and his deeds.                       30

    _Lor._ As much of ceremony as you will,
    So that the thing be done. You may, for aught
    I care, depute the Council on their knees,
    (Like Barbarossa to the Pope,) to beg him
    To have the courtesy to abdicate.

    _Bar._ What if he will not?

    _Lor._                      We'll elect another,
    And make him null.

    _Bar._            But will the laws uphold us?[69]

    _Lor._ What laws?--"The Ten" are laws; and if they were not,
    I will be legislator in this business.

    _Bar._ At your own peril?

    _Lor._                   There is none, I tell you,                 40
    Our powers are such.

    _Bar._              But he has twice already
    Solicited permission to retire,
    And twice it was refused.

    _Lor._                  The better reason
    To grant it the third time.

    _Bar._                     Unasked?

    _Lor._                             It shows
    The impression of his former instances:
    If they were from his heart, he may be thankful:
    If not, 'twill punish his hypocrisy.
    Come, they are met by this time; let us join them,
    And be _thou_ fixed in purpose for this once.
    I have prepared such arguments as will not                          50
    Fail to move them, and to remove him: since
    Their thoughts, their objects, have been sounded, do not
    _You_, with your wonted scruples, teach us pause,
    And all will prosper.

    _Bar._               Could I but be certain
    This is no prelude to such persecution
    Of the sire as has fallen upon the son,
    I would support you.

    _Lor._              He is safe, I tell you;
    His fourscore years and five may linger on
    As long as he can drag them: 'tis his throne
    Alone is aimed at.

    _Bar._            But discarded Princes                              60
    Are seldom long of life.

    _Lor._                  And men of eighty
    More seldom still.

    _Bar._            And why not wait these few years?

    _Lor._ Because we have waited long enough, and he
    Lived longer than enough. Hence! in to council!
                                       [_Exeunt_ LOREDANO _and_ BARBARIGO.

                    _Enter_ MEMMO[70] _and a Senator_.

    _Sen._ A summons to "the Ten!" why so?

    _Mem._                                "The Ten"
    Alone can answer; they are rarely wont
    To let their thoughts anticipate their purpose
    By previous proclamation. We are summoned--
    That is enough.

    _Sen._        For them, but not for us;
    I would know why.

    _Mem._          You will know why anon,                             70
    If you obey: and, if not, you no less
    Will know why you should have obeyed.

    _Sen._                               I mean not
    To oppose them, _but_----

    _Mem._                  In Venice "_but_"'s a traitor.
    But me no "_buts_" unless you would pass o'er
    The Bridge which few repass.[71]

    _Sen._                      I am silent.

    _Mem._                                   Why
    Thus hesitate? "The Ten" have called in aid
    Of their deliberation five and twenty
    Patricians of the Senate--you are one,
    And I another; and it seems to me
    Both honoured by the choice or chance which leads us                80
    To mingle with a body so august.

    _Sen._ Most true. I say no more.

    _Mem._                          As we hope, Signor,
    And all may honestly, (that is, all those
    Of noble blood may,) one day hope to be
    Decemvir, it is surely for the Senate's[br]
    Chosen delegates, a school of wisdom, to
    Be thus admitted, though as novices,
    To view the mysteries.

    _Sen._                Let us view them: they,
    No doubt, are worth it.

    _Mem._                 Being worth our lives
    If we divulge them, doubtless they are worth                        90
    Something, at least to you or me.

    _Sen._                           I sought not
    A place within the sanctuary; but being
    Chosen, however reluctantly so chosen,
    I shall fulfil my office.

    _Mem._                   Let us not
    Be latest in obeying "the Ten's" summons.

    _Sen._ All are not met, but I am of your thought
    So far--let's in.

    _Mem._          The earliest are most welcome
    In earnest councils--we will not be least so.               [_Exeunt_.

             _Enter the_ DOGE, JACOPO FOSCARI, _and_ MARINA.

    _Jac. Fos._ Ah, father! though I must and will depart,
    Yet--yet--I pray you to obtain for me                              100
    That I once more return unto my home,
    Howe'er remote the period. Let there be
    A point of time, as beacon to my heart,
    With any penalty annexed they please,
    But let me still return.

    _Doge_.                 Son Jacopo,
    Go and obey our Country's will:[72] 'tis not
    For us to look beyond.

    _Jac. Fos._        But still I must
    Look back. I pray you think of me.

    _Doge_.                           Alas!
    You ever were my dearest offspring, when
    They were more numerous, nor can be less so                        110
    Now you are last; but did the State demand
    The exile of the disinterred ashes
    Of your three goodly brothers, now in earth,[73]
    And their desponding shades came flitting round
    To impede the act, I must no less obey
    A duty, paramount to every duty.

    _Mar._ My husband! let us on: this but prolongs
    Our sorrow.

    _Jac. Fos._ But we are not summoned yet;
    The galley's sails are not unfurled:--who knows?
    The wind may change.

    _Mar._              And if it do, it will not                      120
    Change _their_ hearts, or your lot: the galley's oars
    Will quickly clear the harbour.

    _Jac. Fos._                    O, ye Elements!
    Where are your storms?

    _Mar._                In human breasts. Alas!
    Will nothing calm you?

    _Jac. Fos._           Never yet did mariner
    Put up to patron saint such prayers for prosperous
    And pleasant breezes, as I call upon you,
    Ye tutelar saints of my own city! which
    Ye love not with more holy love than I,
    To lash up from the deep the Adrian waves,
    And waken Auster, sovereign of the Tempest!                        130
    Till the sea dash me back on my own shore
    A broken corse upon the barren Lido,
    Where I may mingle with the sands which skirt
    The land I love, and never shall see more!

    _Mar._ And wish you this with _me_ beside you?

    _Jac. Fos._                                   No--
    No--not for thee, too good, too kind! May'st thou
    Live long to be a mother to those children
    Thy fond fidelity for a time deprives
    Of such support! But for myself alone,
    May all the winds of Heaven howl down the Gulf,                    140
    And tear the vessel, till the mariners,
    Appalled, turn their despairing eyes on me,
    As the Phenicians did on Jonah, then
    Cast me out from amongst them, as an offering
    To appease the waves. The billow which destroys me
    Will be more merciful than man, and bear me
    Dead, but _still bear_ me to a native grave,
    From fishers' hands, upon the desolate strand,
    Which, of its thousand wrecks, hath ne'er received
    One lacerated like the heart which then                            150
    Will be.--But wherefore breaks it not? why live I?

    _Mar._ To man thyself, I trust, with time, to master
    Such useless passion. Until now thou wert
    A sufferer, but not a loud one: why
    What is this to the things thou hast borne in silence--
    Imprisonment and actual torture?

    _Jac. Fos._                     Double,
    Triple, and tenfold torture! But you are right,
    It must be borne. Father, your blessing.

    _Doge_.                             Would
    It could avail thee! but no less thou hast it.

    _Jac. Fos._ Forgive----

    _Doge_.                What?

    _Jac. Fos._                  My poor mother, for my birth,         160
    And me for having lived, and you yourself
    (As I forgive you), for the gift of life,
    Which you bestowed upon me as my sire.

    _Mar._   What hast thou done?

    _Jac. Fos._                  Nothing. I cannot charge
    My memory with much save sorrow: but
    I have been so beyond the common lot
    Chastened and visited, I needs must think
    That I was wicked. If it be so, may
    What I have undergone here keep me from
    A like hereafter!

    _Mar._           Fear not: _that's_ reserved                       170
    For your oppressors.

    _Jac. Fos._         Let me hope not.

    _Mar._                               Hope not?

    _Jac. Fos._ I cannot wish them _all_ they have inflicted.

    _Mar._ _All!_ the consummate fiends! A thousandfold
    May the worm which never dieth feed upon them!

    _Jac. Fos._ They may repent.

    _Mar._                       And if they do, Heaven will not
    Accept the tardy penitence of demons.

                      _Enter an Officer and Guards_.

    _Offi._ Signor! the boat is at the shore--the wind
    Is rising--we are ready to attend you.

    _Jac. Fos._ And I to be attended. Once more, father,
    Your hand!

    _Doge_.   Take it. Alas! how thine own trembles!                   180

    _Jac. Fos._ No--you mistake; 'tis yours that shakes, my father.

    _Doge_.  Farewell! Is there aught else?

    _Jac. Fos._                            No--nothing.
                                                        [_To the Officer_.
    Lend me your arm, good Signor.

    _Offi._                       You turn pale--
    Let me support you--paler--ho! some aid there!
    Some water!

    _Mar._      Ah, he is dying!

    _Jac. Fos._                  Now, I'm ready--
    My eyes swim strangely--where's the door?

    _Mar._                               Away!
    Let me support him--my best love! Oh, God!
    How faintly beats this heart--this pulse!

    _Jac. Fos._                              The light!
    _Is_ it the light?--I am faint.
                                       [_Officer presents him with water_.

    _Offi._                       He will be better,
    Perhaps, in the air.

    _Jac. Fos._          I doubt not. Father--wife--                   190
    Your hands!

    _Mar._      There's death in that damp, clammy grasp.[74]
    Oh, God!--My Foscari, how fare you?

    _Jac. Fos._                         Well!                  [_He dies_.

    _Offi._ He's gone!

    _Doge_.            He's free.

    _Mar._                       No--no, he is not dead;
    There must be life yet in that heart--he could not[bs]
    Thus leave me.

    _Doge_.        Daughter!

    _Mar._                  Hold thy peace, old man!
    I am no daughter now--thou hast no son.
    Oh, Foscari!

    _Offi._       We must remove the body.

    _Mar._ Touch it not, dungeon miscreants! your base office
    Ends with his life, and goes not beyond murder,
    Even by your murderous laws. Leave his remains                     200
    To those who know to honour them.

    _Offi._                           I must
    Inform the Signory, and learn their pleasure.

    _Doge_. Inform the Signory from _me_, the Doge,
    They have no further power upon those ashes:
    While he lived, he was theirs, as fits a subject--
    Now he is _mine_--my broken-hearted boy!              [_Exit Officer_.

    _Mar._ And I must live!

    _Doge_.                 Your children live, Marina.

    _Mar._ My children! true--they live, and I must live
    To bring them up to serve the State, and die
    As died their father. Oh! what best of blessings                   210
    Were barrenness in Venice! Would my mother
    Had been so!

    _Doge_.      My unhappy children!

    _Mar._                           What!
    _You_ feel it then at last--_you!_--Where is now
    The Stoic of the State?

    _Doge_ (_throwing himself down by the body_). _Here!_

    _Mar._                                         Aye, weep on!
    I thought you had no tears--you hoarded them
    Until they are useless; but weep on! he never
    Shall weep more--never, never more.

                    _Enter_ LOREDANO _and_ BARBARIGO.

    _Lor._                          What's here?

    _Mar._ Ah! the Devil come to insult the dead! Avaunt!
    Incarnate Lucifer! 'tis holy ground.
    A martyr's ashes now lie there, which make it                      220
    A shrine. Get thee back to thy place of torment!

    _Bar._ Lady, we knew not of this sad event,
    But passed here merely on our path from council.

    _Mar._ Pass on.

    _Lor._          We sought the Doge.

    _Mar._ (_pointing to the Doge, who is still on the ground
    by his son's body_)                 He's busy, look,
    About the business _you_ provided for him.
    Are ye content?

    _Bar._         We will not interrupt
    A parent's sorrows.

    _Mar._             No, ye only make them,
    Then leave them.

    _Doge_ (_rising_). Sirs, I am ready.

    _Bar._                              No--not now.

    _Lor._ Yet 'twas important.

    _Doge_.                     If 'twas so, I can
    Only repeat--I am ready.

    _Bar._                  It shall not be                            230
    Just now, though Venice tottered o'er the deep
    Like a frail vessel. I respect your griefs.

    _Doge_. I thank you. If the tidings which you bring
    Are evil, you may say them; nothing further
    Can touch me more than him thou look'st on there;
    If they be good, say on; you need not _fear_
    That they can _comfort_ me.

    _Bar._                      I would they could!

    _Doge_. I spoke not to _you_, but to Loredano.
    _He_ understands me.

    _Mar._               Ah! I thought it would be so.

    _Doge_. What mean you?

    _Mar._                 Lo! there is the blood beginning            240
    To flow through the dead lips of Foscari--
    The body bleeds in presence of the assassin.
                                                           [_To_ LOREDANO.
    Thou cowardly murderer by law, behold
    How Death itself bears witness to thy deeds!

    _Doge_. My child! this is a phantasy of grief.
    Bear hence the body. [_To his attendants_] Signors, if it please you,
    Within an hour I'll hear you.

                          [_Exeunt_ DOGE, MARINA, _and attendants with the
                             body_. _Manent_ LOREDANO _and_ BARBARIGO.

    _Bar._                       He must not
    Be troubled now.

    _Lor._            He said himself that nought
    Could give him trouble farther.

    _Bar._                         These are words;
    But Grief is lonely, and the breaking in                           250
    Upon it barbarous.

    _Lor._             Sorrow preys upon
    Its solitude, and nothing more diverts it
    From its sad visions of the other world,
    Than calling it at moments back to this.
    The busy have no time for tears.

    _Bar._                           And therefore
    You would deprive this old man of all business?

    _Lor._ The thing's decreed. The Giunta[75] and "the Ten"
    Have made it law--who shall oppose that law?

    _Bar._ Humanity!

    _Lor._           Because his son is dead?

    _Bar._ And yet unburied.

    _Lor._                  Had we known this when                     260
    The act was passing, it might have suspended
    Its passage, but impedes it not--once passed.

    _Bar._ I'll not consent.

    _Lor._                  You have consented to
    All that's essential--leave the rest to me.

    _Bar._ Why press his abdication now?

    _Lor._                              The feelings
    Of private passion may not interrupt
    The public benefit; and what the State
    Decides to-day must not give way before
    To-morrow for a natural accident.

    _Bar._ You have a son.

    _Lor._                 I _have_--and _had_ a father.               270

    _Bar._ Still so inexorable?

    _Lor._                      Still.

    _Bar._                            But let him
    Inter his son before we press upon him
    This edict.

    _Lor._     Let him call up into life
    My sire and uncle--I consent. Men may,
    Even aged men, be, or appear to be,
    Sires of a hundred sons, but cannot kindle
    An atom of their ancestors from earth.
    The victims are not equal; he has seen
    His sons expire by natural deaths, and I
    My sires by violent and mysterious maladies.                       280
    I used no poison, bribed no subtle master
    Of the destructive art of healing, to
    Shorten the path to the eternal cure.
    His sons--and he had four--are dead, without
    _My_ dabbling in vile drugs.

    _Bar._                       And art thou sure
    He dealt in such?

    _Lor._           Most sure.

    _Bar._                     And yet he seems
    All openness.

    _Lor._         And so he seemed not long
    Ago to Carmagnuola.

    _Bar._              The attainted
    And foreign traitor?

    _Lor._               Even so: when _he_,
    After the very night in which "the Ten" 290
    (Joined with the Doge) decided his destruction,
    Met the great Duke at daybreak with a jest,
    Demanding whether he should augur him
    "The good day or good night?" his Doge-ship answered,
    "That he in truth had passed a night of vigil,
    In which" (he added with a gracious smile)
    "There often has been question about you."[76]
    'Twas true; the question was the death resolved
    Of Carmagnuola, eight months ere he died;
    And the old Doge, who knew him doomed, smiled on him               300
    With deadly cozenage, eight long months beforehand--
    Eight months of such hypocrisy as is
    Learnt but in eighty years. Brave Carmagnuola
    Is dead; so is young Foscari and his brethren--
    I never _smiled_ on _them_.

    _Bar._                        Was Carmagnuola
    Your friend?

    _Lor._      He was the safeguard of the city.
    In early life its foe, but in his manhood,
    Its saviour first, then victim.

    _Bar._                          Ah! that seems
    The penalty of saving cities. He
    Whom we now act against not only saved                             310
    Our own, but added others to her sway.

    _Lor._ The Romans (and we ape them) gave a crown
    To him who took a city: and they gave
    A crown to him who saved a citizen
    In battle: the rewards are equal. Now,
    If we should measure forth the cities taken
    By the Doge Foscari, with citizens
    Destroyed by him, or _through_ him, the account
    Were fearfully against him, although narrowed
    To private havoc, such as between him                              320
    And my dead father.

    _Bar._               Are you then thus fixed?

    _Lor._ Why, what should change me?

    _Bar._                            That which changes me.
    But you, I know, are marble to retain
    A feud. But when all is accomplished, when
    The old man is deposed, his name degraded,
    His sons all dead, his family depressed,
    And you and yours triumphant, shall you sleep?

    _Lor._ More soundly.

    _Bar._               That's an error, and you'll find it
    Ere you sleep with your fathers.

    _Lor._                          They sleep not
    In their accelerated graves, nor will                              330
    Till Foscari fills his. Each night I see them
    Stalk frowning round my couch, and, pointing towards
    The ducal palace, marshal me to vengeance.

    _Bar._ Fancy's distemperature! There is no passion
    More spectral or fantastical than Hate;
    Not even its opposite, Love, so peoples air
    With phantoms, as this madness of the heart.

                           _Enter an Officer_.

    _Lor._ Where go you, sirrah?

    _Offi._                      By the ducal order
    To forward the preparatory rites
    For the late Foscari's interment.

    _Bar._                           Their                             340
    Vault has been often opened of late years.

    _Lor._ 'Twill be full soon, and may be closed for ever!

    _Offi._ May I pass on?

    _Lor._                 You may.

    _Bar._                         How bears the Doge
    This last calamity?

    _Offi._             With desperate firmness.
    In presence of another he says little,
    But I perceive his lips move now and then;
    And once or twice I heard him, from the adjoining
    Apartment, mutter forth the words--"My son!"
    Scarce audibly. I must proceed.                       [_Exit Officer_.

    _Bar._                          This stroke
    Will move all Venice in his favour.

    _Lor._                              Right!                         350
    We must be speedy: let us call together
    The delegates appointed to convey
    The Council's resolution.

    _Bar._                    I protest
    Against it at this moment.

    _Lor._                     As you please--
    I'll take their voices on it ne'ertheless,
    And see whose most may sway them, yours or mine.
                                       [_Exeunt_ BARBARIGO _and_ LOREDANO.

                                  ACT V.

                    SCENE I.--_The_ DOGE'S _Apartment_.

                       _The_ DOGE _and Attendants_.

    _Att._ My Lord, the deputation is in waiting;
    But add, that if another hour would better
    Accord with your will, they will make it theirs.

    _Doge_. To me all hours are like. Let them approach.
                                                        [_Exit Attendant_.

    _An Officer_. Prince! I have done your bidding.

    _Doge_.                                          What command?

    _Offi._ A melancholy one--to call the attendance

    _Doge_. True--true--true: I crave your pardon. I
    Begin to fail in apprehension, and
    Wax very old--old almost as my years.
    Till now I fought them off, but they begin                          10
    To overtake me.

         _Enter the Deputation, consisting of six of the Signory
                        and the Chief of the Ten_.

                    Noble men, your pleasure!

    _Chief of the Ten_. In the first place, the Council doth condole
    With the Doge on his late and private grief.

    _Doge_. No more--no more of that.

    _Chief of the Ten_.                Will not the Duke
    Accept the homage of respect?

    _Doge_.                       I do
    Accept it as 'tis given--proceed.

    _Chief of the Ten_.              "The Ten,"
    With a selected giunta from the Senate
    Of twenty-five of the best born patricians,
    Having deliberated on the state
    Of the Republic, and the o'erwhelming cares                         20
    Which, at this moment, doubly must oppress
    Your years, so long devoted to your Country,
    Have judged it fitting, with all reverence,
    Now to solicit from your wisdom (which
    Upon reflection must accord in this),
    The resignation of the ducal ring,
    Which you have worn so long and venerably:
    And to prove that they are not ungrateful, nor
    Cold to your years and services, they add
    An appanage of twenty hundred golden                                30
    Ducats, to make retirement not less splendid
    Than should become a Sovereign's retreat.

    _Doge_. Did I hear rightly?

    _Chief of the Ten_.          Need I say again?

    _Doge_. No.--Have you done?

    _Chief of the Ten_.         I have spoken. Twenty four[77]
    Hours are accorded you to give an answer.

    _Doge_. I shall not need so many seconds.

    _Chief of the Ten_.                        We
    Will now retire.

    _Doge_.          Stay! four and twenty hours
    Will alter nothing which I have to say.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Speak!

    _Doge_.                    When I twice before reiterated
    My wish to abdicate, it was refused me:                             40
    And not alone refused, but ye exacted
    An oath from me that I would never more
    Renew this instance. I have sworn to die
    In full exertion of the functions, which
    My Country called me here to exercise,
    According to my honour and my conscience--
    I cannot break _my_ oath.

    _Chief of the Ten_.      Reduce us not
    To the alternative of a decree,
    Instead of your compliance.

    _Doge_.                    Providence
    Prolongs my days to prove and chasten me;                           50
    But ye have no right to reproach my length
    Of days, since every hour has been the Country's.
    I am ready to lay down my life for her,
    As I have laid down dearer things than life:
    But for my dignity--I hold it of
    The _whole_ Republic: when the _general_ will
    Is manifest, then you shall all be answered.

    _Chief of the Ten_. We grieve for such an answer; but it cannot
    Avail you aught.

    _Doge_.         I can submit to all things,
    But nothing will advance; no, not a moment.                         60
    What you decree--decree.

    _Chief of the Ten_.       With this, then, must we
    Return to those who sent us?

    _Doge_.                     You have heard me.

    _Chief of the Ten_. With all due reverence we retire.
                                            [_Exeunt the Deputation, etc._

                           _Enter an Attendant_.

    _Att._                                                My Lord,
    The noble dame Marina craves an audience.

    _Doge_. My time is hers.

                             _Enter_ MARINA.

    _Mar._                    My Lord, if I intrude--
    Perhaps you fain would be alone?

    _Doge_.                          Alone!
    Alone, come all the world around me, I
    Am now and evermore. But we will bear it.

    _Mar._ We will, and for the sake of those who are,
    Endeavour----Oh, my husband!

    _Doge_.                      Give it way:                           70
    I cannot comfort thee.

    _Mar._                  He might have lived,
    So formed for gentle privacy of life,
    So loving, so beloved; the native of
    Another land, and who so blest and blessing
    As my poor Foscari? Nothing was wanting
    Unto his happiness and mine save not
    To be Venetian.

    _Doge_.          Or a Prince's son.

    _Mar._ Yes; all things which conduce to other men's
    Imperfect happiness or high ambition,
    By some strange destiny, to him proved deadly.                      80
    The Country and the People whom he loved,
    The Prince of whom he was the elder born,

    _Doge_.   Soon may be a Prince no longer.

    _Mar._                                    How?

    _Doge_. They have taken my son from me, and now aim
    At my too long worn diadem and ring.
    Let them resume the gewgaws!

    _Mar._                       Oh, the tyrants!
    In such an hour too!

    _Doge_.              'Tis the fittest time;
    An hour ago I should have felt it.

    _Mar._                             And
    Will you not now resent it?--Oh, for vengeance!
    But he, who, had he been enough protected,                          90
    Might have repaid protection in this moment,
    Cannot assist his father.

    _Doge_.                   Nor should do so
    Against his Country, had he a thousand lives
    Instead of that----

    _Mar._            They tortured from him. This
    May be pure patriotism. I am a woman:
    To me my husband and my children were
    Country and home. I loved _him_--how I loved him!
    I have seen him pass through such an ordeal as
    The old martyrs would have shrunk from: he is gone,
    And I, who would have given my blood for him,                      100
    Have nought to give but tears! But could I compass
    The retribution of his wrongs!--Well, well!
    I have sons, who shall be men.

    _Doge_.                       Your grief distracts you.

    _Mar._ I thought I could have borne it, when I saw him
    Bowed down by such oppression; yes, I thought
    That I would rather look upon his corse
    Than his prolonged captivity:--I am punished
    For that thought now. Would I were in his grave!

    _Doge_. I must look on him once more.

    _Mar._                                 Come with me!

    _Doge_. Is he----

    _Mar._            Our bridal bed is now his bier,                  110

    _Doge_. And he is in his shroud!

    _Mar._                           Come, come, old man!
                                          [_Exeunt the_ DOGE _and_ MARINA.

                    _Enter_ BARBARIGO _and_ LOREDANO.

    _Bar._ (_to an Attendant_). Where is the Doge?

    _Att._                                    This instant retired hence,
    With the illustrious lady his son's widow.

    _Lor._ Where?

    _Att._        To the chamber where the body lies.

    _Bar._ Let us return, then.

    _Lor._                      You forget, you cannot.
    We have the implicit order of the Giunta
    To await their coming here, and join them in
    Their office: they'll be here soon after us.

    _Bar._ And will they press their answer on the Doge?

    _Lor._ 'Twas his own wish that all should be done promptly.        120
    He answered quickly, and must so be answered;
    His dignity is looked to, his estate
    Cared for--what would he more?

    _Bar._                         Die in his robes:
    He could not have lived long; but I have done
    My best to save his honours, and opposed
    This proposition to the last, though vainly.
    Why would the general vote compel me hither?

    _Lor._ 'Twas fit that some one of such different thoughts
    From ours should be a witness, lest false tongues
    Should whisper that a harsh majority                               130
    Dreaded to have its acts beheld by others.

    _Bar._ And not less, I must needs think, for the sake
    Of humbling me for my vain opposition.
    You are ingenious, Loredano, in
    Your modes of vengeance, nay, poetical,
    A very Ovid in the art of _hating_;
    'Tis thus (although a secondary object,
    Yet hate has microscopic eyes), to you
    I owe, by way of foil to the more zealous,
    This undesired association in                                      140
    Your Giunta's duties.

    _Lor._                How!--_my_ Giunta!

    _Bar._                                 _Yours!_
    They speak your language, watch your nod, approve
    Your plans, and do your work. Are they not _yours?_

    _Lor._ You talk unwarily. 'Twere best they hear not
    This from you.

    _Bar._          Oh! they'll hear as much one day
    From louder tongues than mine; they have gone beyond
    Even their exorbitance of power: and when
    This happens in the most contemned and abject
    States, stung humanity will rise to check it.

    _Lor._ You talk but idly.

    _Bar._                   That remains for proof.                   150
    Here come our colleagues.

                    _Enter the Deputation as before_.

    _Chief of the Ten_.      Is the Duke aware
    We seek his presence?

    _Att._               He shall be informed.
                                                        [_Exit Attendant_.

    _Bar._ The Duke is with his son.

    _Chief of the Ten_.                  If it be so,
    We will remit him till the rites are over.
    Let us return. 'Tis time enough to-morrow.

    _Lor._ (_aside to Bar_.) Now the rich man's hell-fire upon your tongue,
    Unquenched, unquenchable! I'll have it torn
    From its vile babbling roots, till you shall utter
    Nothing but sobs through blood, for this! Sage Signors,
    I pray ye be not hasty.                        [_Aloud to the others_.

    _Bar._                  But be human!                              160

    _Lor._ See, the Duke comes!

                            _Enter the_ DOGE.

    _Doge_.                     I have obeyed your summons.

    _Chief of the Ten_. We come once more to urge our past request.

    _Doge_. And I to answer.

    _Chief of the Ten_.       What?

    _Doge_.                        My only answer.
    You have heard it.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Hear _you_ then the last decree,
    Definitive and absolute!

    _Doge_.                 To the point--
    To the point! I know of old the forms of office,
    And gentle preludes to strong acts.--Go on!

    _Chief of the Ten_. You are no longer Doge; you are released
    From your imperial oath as Sovereign;
    Your ducal robes must be put off; but for                          170
    Your services, the State allots the appanage
    Already mentioned in our former congress.
    Three days are left you to remove from hence,
    Under the penalty to see confiscated
    All your own private fortune.

    _Doge_.                      That last clause,
    I am proud to say, would not enrich the treasury.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Your answer, Duke!

    _Lor._                                 Your answer, Francis Foscari!

    _Doge_. If I could have foreseen that my old age
    Was prejudicial to the State, the Chief
    Of the Republic never would have shown                             180
    Himself so far ungrateful, as to place
    His own high dignity before his Country;
    But this _life_ having been so many years
    _Not_ useless to that Country, I would fain
    Have consecrated my last moments to her.
    But the decree being rendered, I obey.[bt][78]

    _Chief of the Ten_. If you would have the three days named extended,
    We willingly will lengthen them to eight,
    As sign of our esteem.

    _Doge_.                Not eight hours, Signor,
    Not even eight minutes--there's the ducal ring,                    190
                                           [_Taking off his ring and cap_.
    And there the ducal diadem! And so
    The Adriatic's free to wed another.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Yet go not forth so quickly.

    _Doge_.                                        I am old, sir,
    And even to move but slowly must begin
    To move betimes. Methinks I see amongst you
    A face I know not.--Senator! your name,
    You, by your garb, Chief of the Forty!

    _Mem._                                Signor,
    I am the son of Marco Memmo.

    _Doge_.                      Ah!
    Your father was my friend.--But _sons_ and _fathers!_--
    What, ho! my servants there!

    _Atten._                     My Prince!

    _Doge_.                                No Prince--                 200
    There are the princes of the Prince!
                                       [_Pointing to the Ten's Deputation_
    To part from hence upon the instant.

    _Chief of the Ten_.                  Why
    So rashly? 'twill give scandal.

    _Doge_ (_to the Ten_).         Answer that;
    It is your province.
                                                       [_To the Servants_.
                        --Sirs, bestir yourselves:
    There is one burthen which I beg you bear
    With care, although 'tis past all farther harm--
    But I will look to that myself.

    _Bar._                         He means
    The body of his son.

    _Doge_.              And call Marina,
    My daughter!

                             _Enter_ MARINA.

    _Doge_.      Get thee ready, we must mourn

    _Mar._     And everywhere.

    _Doge_.                  True; but in freedom,                     210
    Without these jealous spies upon the great.
    Signers, you may depart: what would you more?
    We are going; do you fear that we shall bear
    The palace with us? Its _old_ walls, ten times
    As _old_ as I am, and I'm very old,
    Have served you, so have I, and I and they
    Could tell a tale; but I invoke them not
    To fall upon you! else they would, as erst
    The pillars of stone Dagon's temple on
    The Israelite and his Philistine foes.                             220
    Such power I do believe there might exist
    In such a curse as mine, provoked by such
    As you; but I curse not. Adieu, good Signers!
    May the next Duke be better than the present!

    _Lor._ The _present_ Duke is Paschal Malipiero.

    _Doge_. Not till I pass the threshold of these doors.

    _Lor._ Saint Mark's great bell is soon about to toll
    For his inauguration.

    _Doge_.               Earth and Heaven!
    Ye will reverberate this peal; and I
    Live to hear this!--the first Doge who e'er heard                  230
    Such sound for his successor: happier he,
    My attainted predecessor, stern Faliero--
    This insult at the least was spared him.

    _Lor._                                   What!
    Do you regret a traitor?

    _Doge_.                   No--I merely
    Envy the dead.

    _Chief of the Ten_.   My Lord, if you indeed
    Are bent upon this rash abandonment
    Of the State's palace, at the least retire
    By the private staircase, which conducts you towards
    The landing-place of the canal.

    _Doge_.                         No. I
    Will now descend the stairs by which I mounted                     240
    To sovereignty--the Giants' Stairs, on whose
    Broad eminence I was invested Duke.
    My services have called me up those steps,
    The malice of my foes will drive me down them.[79]
    _There_ five and thirty years ago was I
    Installed, and traversed these same halls, from which
    I never thought to be divorced except
    A corse--a corse, it might be, fighting for them--
    But not pushed hence by fellow-citizens.
    But come; my son and I will go together--                          250
    He to his grave, and I to pray for mine.

    _Chief of the Ten_. What! thus in public?

    _Doge_.                                  I was publicly
    Elected, and so will I be deposed.
    Marina! art thou willing?

    _Mar._                   Here's my arm!

    _Doge_. And here my _staff_: thus propped will I go forth.

    _Chief of the Ten_. It must not be--the people will perceive it.

    _Doge_. The people,--There's no people, you well know it,
    Else you dare not deal thus by them or me.
    There is a _populace_, perhaps, whose looks
    May shame you; but they dare not groan nor curse you,              260
    Save with their hearts and eyes.

    _Chief of the Ten_.               You speak in passion,

    _Doge_. You have reason. I have spoken much
    More than my wont: it is a foible which
    Was not of mine, but more excuses you,
    Inasmuch as it shows, that I approach
    A dotage which may justify this deed
    Of yours, although the law does not, nor will.
    Farewell, sirs!

    _Bar._         You shall not depart without
    An escort fitting past and present rank.
    We will accompany, with due respect,                               270
    The Doge unto his private palace. Say!
    My brethren, will we not?

    _Different voices_.       Aye!--Aye!

    _Doge_.                              You shall not
    Stir--in my train, at least. I entered here
    As Sovereign--I go out as citizen
    By the same portals, but as citizen.
    All these vain ceremonies are base insults,
    Which only ulcerate the heart the more,
    Applying poisons there as antidotes.
    Pomp is for Princes--I am none!--That's false,
    I _am_, but only to these gates.--Ah!

    _Lor._                               Hark!                         280
                                    [_The great bell of St. Mark's tolls_.

    _Bar._ The bell!

    _Chief of the Ten_. St. Mark's, which tolls for the election
    Of Malipiero.

    _Doge_.       Well I recognise
    The sound! I heard it once, but once before,
    And that is five and thirty years ago;
    Even _then_ I _was not young_.

    _Bar._                      Sit down, my Lord!
    You tremble.

    _Doge_.      'Tis the knell of my poor boy!
    My heart aches bitterly.

    _Bar._                   I pray you sit.

    _Doge_. No; my seat here has been a throne till now.
    Marina! let us go.

    _Mar._             Most readily.

    _Doge_. (_walks a few steps, then stops_).
    I feel athirst--will no one bring me here                          290
    A cup of water?

    _Bar._         I----

    _Mar._              And I----

    _Lor._                       And I----
                     [_The Doge takes a goblet from the hand of_ LOREDANO.

    _Doge_. I take _yours_, Loredano, from the hand
    Most fit for such an hour as this.[bu]

    _Lor._                            Why so?

    _Doge_. 'Tis said that our Venetian crystal has
    Such pure antipathy to poisons as
    To burst, if aught of venom touches it.
    You bore this goblet, and it is not broken.

    _Lor._ Well, sir!

    _Doge_.           Then it is false, or you are true.
    For my own part, I credit neither; 'tis
    An idle legend.

    _Mar._          You talk wildly, and                               300
    Had better now be seated, nor as yet
    Depart. Ah! now you look as looked my husband!

    _Bar._ He sinks!--support him!--quick--a chair--support him!

    _Doge_. The bell tolls on!--let's hence--my brain's on fire!

    _Bar._ I do beseech you, lean upon us!

    _Doge_.                                No!
    A Sovereign should die standing. My poor boy!
    Off with your arms!--_That bell!_[80]
                                        [_The_ DOGE _drops down and dies_.

    _Mar._ My God! My God!

    _Bar._ (_to Lor._). Behold! your work's completed!

    _Chief of the Ten_.                              Is there then
    No aid? Call in assistance!

    _Att._                     'Tis all over.

    _Chief of the Ten_. If it be so, at least his obsequies            310
    Shall be such as befits his name and nation,
    His rank and his devotion to the duties
    Of the realm, while his age permitted him
    To do himself and them full justice. Brethren,
    Say, shall it not be so?

    _Bar._                   He has not had
    The misery to die a subject where[bv]
    He reigned: then let his funeral rites be princely.[81]

    _Chief of the Ten_. We are agreed, then?

    _All, except Lor., answer,_              Yes.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Heaven's peace be with him!

    _Mar._ Signers, your pardon: this is mockery.                      320
    Juggle no more with that poor remnant, which,
    A moment since, while yet it had a soul,
    (A soul by whom you have increased your Empire,
    And made your power as proud as was his glory),
    You banished from his palace and tore down
    From his high place, with such relentless coldness;
    And now, when he can neither know these honours,
    Nor would accept them if he could, you, Signors,
    Purpose, with idle and superfluous pomp,
    To make a pageant over what you trampled.                          330
    A princely funeral will be your reproach,
    And not his honour.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Lady, we revoke not
    Our purposes so readily.

    _Mar._                  I know it,
    As far as touches torturing the living.
    I thought the dead had been beyond even _you_,
    Though (some, no doubt) consigned to powers which may
    Resemble that you exercise on earth.
    Leave him to me; you would have done so for
    His dregs of life, which you have kindly shortened:
    It is my last of duties, and may prove                             340
    A dreary comfort in my desolation.[bw]
    Grief is fantastical, and loves the dead,
    And the apparel of the grave.

    _Chief of the Ten_.          Do you
    Pretend still to this office?

    _Mar._                        I do, Signor.
    Though his possessions have been all consumed
    In the State's service, I have still my dowry,
    Which shall be consecrated to his rites,
    And those of----                          [_She stops with agitation_.

    _Chief of the Ten_. Best retain it for your children.

    _Mar._ Aye, they are fatherless, I thank you.

    _Chief of the Ten_.                           We
    Cannot comply with your request. His relics                        350
    Shall be exposed with wonted pomp, and followed
    Unto their home by the new Doge, not clad
    As _Doge_, but simply as a senator.

    _Mar._ I have heard of murderers, who have interred
    Their victims; but ne'er heard, until this hour,
    Of so much splendour in hypocrisy
    O'er those they slew.[82] I've heard of widows' tears--
    Alas! I have shed some--always thanks to you!
    I've heard of _heirs_ in sables--you have left none
    To the deceased, so you would act the part                         360
    Of such. Well, sirs, your will be done! as one day,
    I trust, Heaven's will be done too![bx]

    _Chief of the Ten_.                 Know you, Lady,
    To whom ye speak, and perils of such speech?

    _Mar._ I know the former better than yourselves;
    The latter--like yourselves; and can face both.
    Wish you more funerals?

    _Bar._                 Heed not her rash words;
    Her circumstances must excuse her bearing.

    _Chief of the Ten_. We will not note them down.

    _Bar._ (_turning to Lor., who is writing upon his tablets_).
                                                  What art thou writing,
    With such an earnest brow, upon thy tablets?

    _Lor._ (_pointing to the Doge's body_). That _he_ has paid me![83]

    _Chief of the Ten_. What debt did he owe you?                      370

    _Lor._ A long and just one; Nature's debt and _mine_.[84]
                                                      [_Curtain falls_[85]


[34] {113}[The MS. of _The Two Foscari_ is now in the possession of
H.R.H. the Princess of Wales.]

[35] [Begun June the 12th, completed July the 9th, Ravenna,
1821.--_Byron MS_.]

[36] [_Gov._ "_The father softens--but the governor is fixed_."
_Dingle_. "Aye that antithesis of persons is a most established
figure."--_Critic_, act ii. sc. 2.

Byron may have guessed that this passage would be quoted against him,
and, by taking it as a motto, hoped to anticipate or disarm ridicule; or
he may have selected it out of bravado, as though, forsooth, the public
were too stupid to find him out.]

[at] ----_too soon repeated_.--[MS. erased.]

[37] {121}[It is a moot point whether Jacopo Foscari was placed on the
rack on the occasion of his third trial. The original document of the X.
(July 23, 1456) runs thus: "Si videtur vobis per ea quae dicta et lecta
sunt, quod _procedatur_ contra Ser Jacobum Foscari;" and it is argued
(see F. Berlan, _I due Foscari, etc._, 1852, p. 57), (1) that the word
_procedatur_ is not a euphemism for "tortured," but should be rendered
"judgment be given against;" (2) that if the X had decreed torture,
torture would have been expressly enjoined; and (3) that as the decrees
of the Council were not divulged, there was no motive for ambiguity. S.
Romanin (_Storia Documentata, etc._, 1853, iv. 284) and R. Senger (_Die
beiden Foscari_, 1878, p. 116) take the same view. On the other hand,
Miss A. Wiel (_Two Doges of Venice_, 1891, p. 107) points out that,
according to the _Dolfin Cronaca_, which Berlan did not consult, Jacopo
was in a "mutilated" condition when the trial was over, and he was
permitted to take a last farewell of his wife and children in
Torricella. Goethe (_Conversations_, 1874, pp. 264, 265) did not share
Eckermann's astonishment that Byron "could dwell so long on this
torturing subject." "He was always a self-tormentor, and hence such
subjects were his darling theme."]

[38] {122}[It is extremely improbable that Francesco Foscari was present
in person at the third or two preceding trials of his son. As may be
gathered from the _parte_ of the Council of Ten relating to the first
trial, there was a law which prescribed the contrary: "In ipsius Domini
Ducis praesentia de rebus ad ipsum, vel ad filios suos tangentibus non
tractetur, loquatur vel consulatur, sicut non potest (_fieri_) quando
tractatur de rebus tangentibus ad attinentes Domini Ducis." The fact
that "Nos Franciscus Foscari," etc., stood at the commencement of the
decree of exile may have given rise to the tradition that the Doge, like
a Roman father, tried and condemned his son. (See Berlan's _I due
Foscari_, p. 13.)]

[39] {123}[Pietro Loredano, admiral of the Venetian fleet, died November
11, 1438. His death was sudden and suspicious, for he was taken with
violent pains and spasms after presiding at a banquet in honour of his
victories over the Milanese; and, when his illness ended fatally, it was
remembered that the Doge had publicly declared that so long as the
admiral lived he would never be _de facto_ Prince of the Republic.
Jacopo Loredano chose to put his own interpretation on this outburst of
impatience, and inscribed on his father's monument in the Church of the
Monastery of Sant' Elena, in the Isola della Santa Lena, the words, "Per
insidias hostium veneno sublatus." (See _Ecclesiae Venetae_, by Flaminio
Cornaro, 1749, ix. 193, 194; see, too, Cicogna's _Inscrizioni
Veneziane_, 1830, iii. 381.)

Not long afterwards Marco Loredano, the admiral's brother, met with a
somewhat similar fate. He had been despatched by the X. to Legnano, to
investigate the conduct of Andrea Donate, the Doge's brother-in-law, who
was suspected of having embezzled the public moneys. His report was
unfavourable to Donato, and, shortly after, he too fell sick and died.
It is most improbable that the Doge was directly or indirectly
responsible for the death of either brother; but there was an hereditary
feud, and the libellous epitaph was a move in the game.]

[40] {124}[Daru gives Palazzi's _Fasti Ducales_ and _L'Histoire
Venitienne_ of Vianolo as his authorities for this story.]


             ----_checked by nought_
    _The vessel that creaks_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[av] {125} ----_much pity_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[41] ["This whole episode in the private life of the Foscari family is
valuable chiefly for the light it throws upon the internal history of
Venice. We are clearly in an atmosphere unknown before. The Council of
Ten is all-powerful; it even usurps functions which do not belong to it
by the constitution. The air is charged with plots, suspicion,
assassination, denunciation, spies,--all the paraphernalia which went to
confirm the popular legend as to the terrible nature of the
_Dieci_."--_Venice, etc._, by Horatio F. Brown, 1893, p. 305.]

[aw] {126} _In this brief colloquy, and must redeem it_.--[MS. M.]

[42] [Compare--

    "And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
      Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
      Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
      I wantoned with thy breakers."

                     _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. stanza clxxxiv. lines 1-4,
                               _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 461, note 2.]

[43] {127}[The climate of Crete is genial and healthy; but the town of
Candia is exposed to winds from the north and north-west.]

[ax] _I see your colour comes_.--[MS. M.]

[44] {130}["She was a Contarini (her name was Lucrezia, not Marina)--

    'A daughter of the house that now among
    Its ancestors in monumental brass
    Numbers eight Doges.'

On the occasion of her marriage the Bucentaur came out in its splendour;
and a bridge of boats was thrown across the Canal Grande for the
bridegroom and his retinue of three hundred horse."--_Foscari_, by
Samuel Rogers, _Poems_, 1852, ii. 93, note.

According to another footnote (_ibid_., p. 90), "this story (_Foscari_)
and the tragedy of the _Two Foscari_ were published within a few days of
each other, in November, 1821." The first edition of _Italy_ was
published anonymously in 1822. According to the announcement of a
corrected and enlarged edition, which appeared in the _Morning
Chronicle_, April 11, 1823, "a few copies of this poem were printed off
the winter before last, while the author was abroad."]

[ay] {132} _Do not deem so_.--[MS. M.]

[45] {133}[Jacopo's plea, that the letter to the Duke of Milan was
written for the express purpose of being recalled to Venice, is
inadmissible for more reasons than one. In the first place, if on
suspicion of a letter written but never sent, the Ten had thought fit to
recall him, it by no means followed that they would have granted him an
interview with his wife and family; and, secondly, the fact that there
were letters in cypher found in his possession, and that a direct
invitation to the Sultan to rescue him by force was among the impounded
documents ("Quod requirebat dictum Teucrum ut mitteret ex galeis suis ad
accipiendum et levandum eum de dicto loco"), proves that the appeal to
the Duke of Milan was _bona fide_, and not a mere act of desperation.
(See _The Two Doges_, pp. 101, 102, and Berlan's _I due Poscari_, p. 53,

[46] {134}[There is no documentary evidence for this "confession," which
rests on a mere tradition. (_Vide_ Sanudo, _Vita Ducum Venetorum_,
_apud_ Muratori, _Rerum Ital. Script_., 1733, xxii. col. 1139; see, too,
Berlan, _I due Foscari_, p. 37.) Moreover, Almoro Donato was not chief
of the "Ten" at the date of his murder. The three "Capi" for November,
1450, were Ermolao Vallaresso, Giovanni Giustiniani, and Andrea Marcello
(_vide ibid._, p. 25).]

[47] {135}["Examination by torture: 'Such presumption is only sufficient
to put the person to the rack or torture' (Ayliffe's _Parergon_)."--_Cent.
Dict._, art. "Question."]

[48] [Shakespeare, Milton, Thompson, and others, use "shook" for

[az] _As was proved on him_----.--[MS. M.]

[49] [The inarticulate mutterings are probably an echo of the
"incantation and magic words" ("incantationem et verba quas sibi reperta
sunt de quibus ad funem utitur ... quoniam in fune aliquam nec vocem nec
gemitum emittit sed solum inter dentes ipse videtur et auditur loqui"
[_Die beiden Foscari_, pp. 160, 161]), which, according to the decree of
the Council of Ten, dated March 26, 1451, Jacopo let fall "while under
torture" during his second trial.]

[ba] {137} _I'll hence and follow Loredano home_.--[MS. M.]

[bb] _That I had dipped the pen too heedlessly_.--[MS. M.]

[bc] {138} _Mistress of Lombardy--'tis some comfort to me_.--[MS. M.]

[50] [Compare "Ce fut l'epoque, ou Venise etendit son empire sur
Brescia, Bergame, Ravenne, et Creme; ou elle fonda sa domination de
Lombardie," etc. (Sismondi's _Histoire des Republiques_, x. 38). Brescia
fell to the Venetians, October, 1426; Bergamo, in April, 1428; Ravenna,
in August, 1440; and Crema, in 1453.]

[51] {139}[The Bridge of Sighs was not built till the end of the
sixteenth century. (_Vide ante, Marino Faliero_, act i. sc. 2, line 508,
_Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 363, note 2; see, too, _Childe Harold_,
Canto IV. stanza i. line 1, _et post_, act iv. sc. 1, line 75.)]

[bd] {141} _To tears save those of dotage_----.--[MS. M.]

[52] {143}[Five sons were born to the Doge, of whom four died of the
plague (_Two Doges, etc._, by A. Wiel, 1891, p. 77).]

[53] {144}[The Doge offered to abdicate in June, 1433, in June, 1442,
and again in 1446 (see Romanin, _Storia, etc._, 1855, iv. 170, 171,
note 1).]

[54] [_Vide ante_, p. 123.]

[55] {148}[For the _Pozzi_ and _Piombi_, see _Marino Faliero_, act i.
sc. 2, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 363, note 2.]

[be] _Keep this for them_----.--[MS. M.]

[bf] {149} _The blackest leaf, his heart, and blankest, his
brain_.--[MS. M.]

[bg] ----_and best in humblest stations_.--[MS. M.]


    _Where hunger swallows all--where ever was_
    _The monarch who could bear a three days' fast?_--[MS. M.]

[bi] _Their disposition_----.--[MS. M.]

[56] [It would seem that Byron's "not ourselves" by no means "made for"


                  ----_the will itself dependent_
    _Upon a storm, a straw, and both alike_
    _Leading to death_----.--[MS. M.]

[57] [Compare--"The boldest steer but where their ports invite." _Childe
Harold_, Canto III. stanza lxx. lines 7-9; and Canto IV. stanza xxxiv.,
_Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 260, 353, and 74, note 1.]

[58] {152}[Compare--

    "Our voices took a dreary tone,
    An echo of the dungeon stone."

                                      _Prisoner of Chillon_, lines 63, 64.

Compare, too--

                     "----prisoned solitude.
    And the Mind's canker in its savage mood,
    When the impatient thirst of light and air
    Parches the heart."

                                            _Lament of Tasso_, lines 4-7.]

[59] {153}[For inscriptions on the walls of the _Pozzi_, see note 1 to
_Childe Harold's Pilgrimage_, Canto IV., _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii.
465-467. Hobhouse transferred these "scratchings" to his pocket-books,
and thence to his _Historical Notes_; but even as prison inscriptions
they lack both point and style.]

[60] [Compare--

    "Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree
    The fair, the chaste and unexpressive she."

                           _As You Like It_, act iii. sc. 2, lines 9, 10.]


    _Which never can be read but, as 'twas written,_
    _By wretched beings_.--[MS.]

[bl] {154}

    _Of the familiar's torch, which seems to love_
    _Darkness far more than light_.--[MS.]

[61] {157}[Compare--

    "Once more upon the waters! yet once more!
       And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
       That knows his rider."

                         _Childe Harold_, Canto III. stanza ii. lines 1-3,
                               _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 217, note 1.]

[bm] _At once by briefer means and better_.--[MS.]

[62] {158} In Lady Morgan's fearless and excellent work upon Italy, I
perceive the expression of "Rome of the Ocean" applied to Venice. The
same phrase occurs in the "Two Foscari." My publisher can vouch for me,
that the tragedy was written and sent to England some time before I had
seen Lady Morgan's work, which I only received on the 16th of August. I
hasten, however, to notice the coincidence, and to yield the originality
of the phrase to her who first placed it before the public.

[Byron calls Lady Morgan's _Italy_ "fearless" on account of her
strictures on the behaviour of Great Britain to Genoa in 1814. "England
personally stood pledged to Genoa.... When the British officers rode
into their gates bearing the white flag consecrated by the holy word of
'_independence_,' the people ... '_kissed their garments_.'... Every
heart was open.... Lord William Bentinck's flag of '_Independenza_' was
taken down from the steeples and high places at sunrise; before noon the
arms of Sardinia blazoned in their stead; and yet the Genoese did not
rise _en masse_ and massacre the English" (_Italy_, 1821, i. 245, 246).
The passage which Byron feared might be quoted to his disparagement runs
as follows: "As the bark glides on, as the shore recedes, and the city
of waves, the Rome of the ocean, rises on the horizon, the spirits
rally; ... and as the spires and cupolas of Venice come forth in the
lustre of the mid-day sun, and its palaces, half-veiled in the aerial
tints of distance, gradually assume their superb proportions, then the
dream of many a youthful vigil is realized" (_ibid_., ii. 449).]

[63] [Compare _Marino Faliero_, act ii. sc. 2, line 110, _Poetical
Works_, 901, iv. 386, note 3.]

[64] {159} The Calenture.--[From the Spanish _Calentura_, a fever
peculiar to sailors within the tropics--

    "So, by a calenture misled,
        The mariner with rapture sees,
    On the smooth ocean's azure bed,
        Enamelled fields and verdant trees:
    With eager haste he longs to rove
       In that fantastic scene, and thinks
    It must be some enchanted grove;
       And in he leaps, and down he sinks."

                Swift, _The South-Sea Project_, 1721, ed. 1824, xiv. 147.]

[65] Alluding to the Swiss air and its effects.--[The _Ranz des Vaches_,
played upon the bag-pipe by the young cowkeepers on the mountains:--"An
air," says Rousseau, "so dear to the Swiss, that it was forbidden, under
the pain of death, to play it to the troops, as it immediately drew
tears from them, and made those who heard it desert, or die of what is
called _la maladie du pais_, so ardent a desire did it excite to return
to their country. It is in vain to seek in this air for energetic
accents capable of producing such astonishing effects, for which
strangers are unable to account from the music, which is in itself
uncouth and wild. But it is from habit, recollections, and a thousand
circumstances, retraced in this tune by those natives who hear it, and
reminding them of their country, former pleasures of their youth, and
all their ways of living, which occasion a bitter reflection at having
lost them." Compare Byron's Swiss "Journal" for September 19, 1816,
_Letters_, 1899, ii. 355.]

[bn] _That malady, which_----.--[MS. M.]

[66] [Compare _Don Juan_, Canto XVI. stanza xlvi. lines 6, 7--

    "The calentures of music which o'ercome
    The mountaineers with dreams that they are highlands."]

[bo] {160} ----_upon your native towers_.--[MS. M.]

[bp] {162} _Come you here to insult us_----.--[MS. M.]

[67] {163}[For "steeds of brass," compare _Childe Harold_, Canto IV.
stanza xiii. line I, _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 338, and 336, note 1.]

[68] [The first and all subsequent editions read "skimmed the coasts."
Byron wrote "skirred," a word borrowed from Shakespeare. Compare _Siege
of Corinth_, line 692, _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 480, note 4.]

[bq] {165} ----_which this noble lady worst_,--[MS. M.]

[69] {169}[According to the law, it rested with the six councillors of
the Doge and a majority of the Grand Council to insist upon the
abdication of a Doge. The action of the Ten was an usurpation of powers
to which they were not entitled by the terms of the Constitution.]

[70] {170}[A touching incident is told concerning an interview between
the Doge and Jacopo Memmo, head of the Forty. The Doge had just learnt
(October 21, 1457) the decision of the Ten with regard to his
abdication, and noticed that Memmo watched him attentively. "Foscari
called to him, and, touching his hand, asked him whose son he was. He
answered, 'I am the son of Messer Marin Memmo.'--' He is my dear
friend,' said the Doge; 'tell him from me that it would be pleasing to
me if he would come and see me, so that we might go at our leisure in
our boats to visit the monasteries'" (_The Two Doges_, by A. Weil, 1891,
p. 124; see, too, Romanin, _Storia, etc._, 1855, iv. 291).]

[71] {171}[_Vide ante_, p. 139, note 1.]

[br] _Decemvirs, it is surely_----.--[MS. M.]

[72] {172}[Romanin (_Storia, etc._, 1855, iv. 285, 286) quotes the
following anecdote from the _Cronaca Dolfin_:--

"Alla commozione, alle lagrime, ai singulti che accompagnavano gli
ultimi abbraciamenti, Jacopo piu che mai sentendo il dolore di quel
distacco, diceva: _Padre ve priego, procure per mi, che ritorni a casa
mia_. E messer lo doxe: _Jacomo va e obbedisci quel che vuol la terra e
non cerear piu oltre_. Ma, uscito l'infelice figlio dalla stanza, piu
non resistendo alla piena degli affetti, si getto piangendo sopra una
sedia e lamentando diceva: _O pieta grande_!"]

[73] [_Vide ante_, act ii. sc. I, line 174, p. 143, note 1.]

[74] {175}[So, too, Coleridge of Keats: "There is death in that hand;"
and of Adam Steinmetz: "Alas! there is _death_ in that dear hand." See
_Table Talk_ for August 14, 1832, and _Letter to John Peirse Kennard_,
August 13, 1832, _Letters of S. T. C._, 1895, ii. 764. Jacopo Foscari was
sent back to exile in Crete, and did not die till February, 1457. His
death at Venice, immediately after his sentence, is contrived for the
sake of observing "the unities."]


      ----_he would not_
    _Thus leave me_.--[MS. M.]

[75] {178}[It is to be noted that the "Giunta" was demanded by Loredano
himself--a proof of his bona fides, as the addition of twenty-five
nobles to the original Ten would add to the chance of opposition on the
part of the supporters and champions of the Doge (see _The Two Doges_,
and Romanin, _Storia, etc., iv. 286, note 3_).]

[76] {179} An historical fact. See DARU [1821], tom. ii. [pp. 398, 399.
Daru quotes as his authorities Sabellicus and Pietro Giustiniani. As a
matter of fact, the Doge did his utmost to save Carmagnola, pleading
that his sentence should be commuted to imprisonment for life (see _The
Two Doges_, p. 66; and Romanin, _Storia, etc._, iv. 161).]

[77] {183}[By the terms of the "parte," or act of deposition drawn up by
the Ten, October 21, 1457, the time granted for deliberation was "till
the third hour of the following day." This limitation as to time was
designed to prevent the Doge from summoning the Grand Council, "to whom
alone belonged the right of releasing him from the dukedom." (_The Two
Doges_, p. 118; _Diebeiden Foscari_, 1878, pp. 174-176).]

[bt] {188} _The act is passed--I will obey it_.--[MS. M.]

[78] [For this speech, see Daru (who quotes from Pietro Giustiniani,
_Histoire, etc._, 1821, ii. 534).]

[79] {190}[See Daru's _Histoire, etc._, 1821, ii. 535. The _Cronaca
Augustini_ is the authority for the anecdote (see _The Two Doges_, 1891,
p. 126).]

[bu] {192}

    _I take yours, Loredano--'tis the draught_
    _Most fitting such an hour as this_.--[MS. M.]

[80] {193}[_Vide ante_, Introduction to _The Two Foscari_, p. 118.]

[bv] _The wretchedness to die_----.--[MS. M.]

[81] ["A decree was at once passed that a public funeral should be
accorded to Foscari, ... and the bells of St. Mark were ordered to peal
nine times.... The same Council also determined that on Thursday night,
November 3, the corpse should be carried into the room of the 'Signori
di notte,' dressed in a golden mantle, with the ducal bonnet on his
head, golden spurs on his feet, ... the gold sword by his side." But
Foscari's wife, Marina (or Maria) Nani, opposed. "She declined to give
up the body, which she had caused to be dressed in plain clothes, and
she maintained that no one but herself should provide for the funeral
expenses, even should she have to give up her dower." It is needless to
add that her protest was unavailing, and that the decree of the Ten was
carried into effect.--_The Two Doges_, 1891, pp. 129, 130.]

[bw] {194} ----_comfort to my desolation_.--[MS. M.]

[82] {195} The Venetians appear to have had a particular turn for
breaking the hearts of their Doges. The following is another instance of
the kind in the Doge Marco Barbarigo: he was succeeded by his brother
Agostino Barbarigo, whose chief merit is here mentioned.--"Le doge,
blesse de trouver constamment un contradicteur et un censeur si amer
dans son frere, lui dit un jour en plein conseil: 'Messire Augustin,
vous faites tout votre possible pour hater ma mort; vous vous flattez de
me succeder; mais, si les autres vous connaissent aussi bien que je vous
connais, ils n'auront garde de vous elire.' La-dessus il se leva, emu de
colere, rentra dans son appartement, et mourut quelques jours apres. Ce
frere, contre lequel il s'etait emporte, fut precisement le successeur
qu'on lui donna. C'etait un merite don't on aimait a tenir compte;
surtout a un parent, de s'etre mis en opposition avec le chef de la
republique."--DARU, _Hist, de Venise_, 1821, in. 29.

[bx] _I trust Heavens will be done also_.--[MS.]

[83] "_L'ha pagata_." An historical fact. See _Hist. de Venise_, par P.
DARU, 1821, ii. 528, 529.

[Daru quotes Palazzi's _Fasti Ducales_ as his authority for this story.
According to Pietro Giustiniani (_Storia_, lib. viii.), Jacopo Loredano
was at pains to announce the decree of the Ten to the Doge in courteous
and considerate terms, and begged him to pardon him for what it was his
duty to do. Romanin points out that this version of the interview is
inconsistent with the famous "_L'hapagata_."--_Storia, etc._, iv. 290,
note i.]

[84] {196}[Here the original MS. ends. The two lines which follow, were
added by Gifford. In the margin of the MS. Byron has written, "If the
last line should appear obscure to those who do not recollect the
historical fact mentioned in the first act of Loredano's inscription in
his book, of 'Doge Foscari, debtor for the deaths of my father and
uncle,' you may add the following lines to the conclusion of the last

    _Chief of the Ten_. For what has he repaid thee?

    _Lor._                            For my father's
    And father's brother's death--by his son's and own!

Ask Gifford about this."]

[85] [The _Appendix_ to the First Edition of _The Two Foscari_ consisted
of (i.) an extract from P. Daru's _Histoire de la Republique Francaise_,
1821, ii. 520-537; (ii.) an extract from J. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi's
_Histoire des Republiques Italiennes du Moyen Age_, 1815, x. 36-46; and
(iii.) a note in response to certain charges of plagiarism brought
against the author in the _Literary Gazette_ and elsewhere; and to
Southey's indictment of the "Satanic School," which had recently
appeared in the Preface to the Laureate's _Vision of Judgement_
(_Poetical Works of Robert Southey_, 1838, x. 202-207). See, too, the
"Introduction to _The Vision of Judgment_," _Poetical Works_, 1891, iv.
pp. 475-480.]


                                 A MYSTERY.

        "Now the Serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field
                        which the Lord God had made."
                                               _Chapter 3rd, verse 1_.

                         INTRODUCTION TO _CAIN_.

Cain was begun at Ravenna, July 16, and finished September 9, 1821
(_vide_ MS. M.). Six months before, when he was at work on the first act
of _Sardanapalus_, Byron had "pondered" _Cain_, but it was not till
_Sardanapalus_ and a second historical play, _The Two Foscari_, had been
written, copied out, and sent to England, that he indulged his genius
with a third drama--on "a metaphysical subject, something in the style
of _Manfred_" (_Letters_, 1901, v. 189).

Goethe's comment on reading and reviewing _Cain_ was that he should be
surprised if Byron did not pursue the treatment of such "biblical
subjects," as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (_Conversations,
etc._, 1879, p. 62); and, many years after, he told Crabb Robinson
(_Diary_, 1869, ii. 435) that Byron should have lived "to execute his
vocation ... to dramatize the Old Testament." He was better equipped for
such a task than might have been imagined. A Scottish schoolboy, "from a
child he had known the Scriptures," and, as his _Hebrew Melodies_
testify, he was not unwilling to turn to the Bible as a source of poetic
inspiration. Moreover, he was born with the religious temperament.
Questions "of Providence, foreknowledge, will and fate," exercised his
curiosity because they appealed to his imagination and moved his spirit.
He was eager to plunge into controversy with friends and advisers who
challenged or rebuked him, Hodgson, for instance, or Dallas; and he
responded with remarkable amenity to the strictures and exhortations of
such orthodox professors as Mr. Sheppard and Dr. Kennedy. He was, no
doubt, from first to last a _heretic_, impatient, not to say
contemptuous, of authority, but he was by no means indifferent to
religion altogether. To "argue about it and about" was a necessity, if
not an agreeable relief, to his intellectual energies. It would appear
from the Ravenna diary (January 28, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 190,191),
that the conception of Lucifer was working in his brain before the
"tragedy of Cain" was actually begun. He had been recording a "thought"
which had come to him, that "at the very height of human desire and
pleasure, a certain sense of doubt and sorrow"--an _amari aliquid_ which
links the future to the past, and so blots out the present--"mingles
with our bliss," making it of none effect, and, by way of moral or
corollary to his soliloquy, he adds three lines of verse headed,
"Thought for a speech of Lucifer in the Tragedy of _Cain_"--

    "Were Death an _Evil_, would _I_ let thee live?
    Fool! live as I live--as thy father lives,
    And thy son's sons shall live for evermore."

In these three lines, which were not inserted in the play, and in the
preceding "thought," we have the key-note to _Cain_. "Man walketh in a
vain shadow"--a shadow which he can never overtake, the shadow of an
eternally postponed fruition. With a being capable of infinite
satisfaction, he is doomed to realize failure in attainment. In all that
is best and most enjoyable, "the rapturous moment and the placid hour,"
there is a foretaste of "Death the Unknown"! The tragedy of _Manfred_
lies in remorse for the inevitable past; the tragedy of _Cain_, in
revolt against the limitations of the inexorable present.

The investigation of the "sources" of _Cain_ does not lead to any very
definite conclusion (see _Lord Byron's Cain und Seine Quellen_, von
Alfred Schaffner, 1880). He was pleased to call his play "a Mystery,"
and, in his Preface (_vide post_, p. 207), Byron alludes to the Old
Mysteries as "those very profane productions, whether in English,
French, Italian, or Spanish." The first reprint of the _Chester Plays_
was published by the Roxburghe Club in 1818, but Byron's knowledge of
Mystery Plays was probably derived from _Dodsley's Plays_ (ed. 1780, l.,
xxxiii.-xlii.), or from John Stevens's Continuation of Dugdale's
_Monasticon_ (_vide post_, p. 207), or possibly, as Herr Schaffner
suggests, from Warton's _History of English Poetry_, ed. 1871, ii.
222-230. He may, too, have witnessed some belated _Rappresentazione_ of
the Creation and Fall at Ravenna, or in one of the remoter towns or
villages of Italy. There is a superficial resemblance between the
treatment of the actual encounter of Cain and Abel, and the conventional
rendering of the same incident in the _Ludus Coventriae_, and in the
_Mistere du Viel Testament_; but it is unlikely that he had closely
studied any one Mystery Play at first hand. On the other hand, his
recollections of Gessner's _Death of Abel_ which "he had never read
since he was eight years old," were clearer than he imagined. Not only
in such minor matters as the destruction of Cain's altar by a whirlwind,
and the substitution of the Angel of the Lord for the _Deus_ of the
Mysteries, but in the Teutonic domesticities of Cain and Adah, and the
evangelical piety of Adam and Abel, there is a reflection, if not an
imitation, of the German idyll (see Gessner's _Death of Abel_, ed. 1797,
pp. 80, 102).

Of his indebtedness to Milton he makes no formal acknowledgment, but he
was not ashamed to shelter himself behind Milton's shield when he was
attacked on the score of blasphemy and profanity. "If _Cain_ be
blasphemous, _Paradise Lost_ is blasphemous" (letter to Murray, Pisa,
February 8, 1822), was, he would fain believe, a conclusive answer to
his accusers. But apart from verbal parallels or coincidences, there is
a genuine affinity between Byron's Lucifer and Milton's Satan. Lucifer,
like Satan, is "not less than Archangel ruined," a repulsed but
"unvanquished Titan," marred by a demonic sorrow, a confessor though a
rival of Omnipotence. He is a majestic and, as a rule, a serious and
solemn spirit, who compels the admiration and possibly the sympathy of
the reader. There is, however, another strain in his ghostly attributes,
which betrays a more recent consanguinity: now and again he gives token
that he is of the lineage of Mephistopheles. He is sometimes, though
rarely, a mocking as well as a rebellious spirit, and occasionally
indulges in a grim _persiflage_ beneath the dignity if not the capacity
of Satan. It is needless to add that Lucifer has a most lifelike
personality of his own. The conception of the spirit of evil justifying
an eternal antagonism to the Creator from the standpoint of a superior
morality, may, perhaps, be traced to a Manichean source, but it has been
touched with a new emotion. Milton's devil is an abstraction of infernal

          "Sole Positive of Night!
            Antipathist of Light!
    Fate's only essence! primal scorpion rod--
    The one permitted opposite of God!"

Goethe's devil is an abstraction of scorn. He "maketh a mock" alike of
good and evil! But Byron's devil is a spirit, yet a mortal too--the
traducer, because he has suffered for his sins; the deceiver, because he
is self-deceived; the hoper against hope that there is a ransom for the
soul in perfect self-will and not in perfect self-sacrifice. Byron did
not uphold Lucifer, but he "had passed that way," and could imagine a
spiritual warfare not only against the _Deus_ of the Mysteries or of the
Book of Genesis, but against what he believed and acknowledged to be
the Author and Principle of good.

_Autres temps, autres m[oe]urs!_ It is all but impossible for the modern
reader to appreciate the audacity of _Cain_, or to realize the alarm and
indignation which it aroused by its appearance. Byron knew that he was
raising a tempest, and pleads, in his Preface, "that with regard to the
language of Lucifer, it was difficult for me to make him talk like a
clergyman," and again and again he assures his correspondents (_e.g._ to
Murray, November 23, 1821, "_Cain_ is nothing more than a drama;" to
Moore, March 4, 1822, "With respect to Religion, can I never convince
you that _I_ have no such opinions as the characters in that drama,
which seems to have frightened everybody?" _Letters_, 1901, v. 469; vi.
30) that it is Lucifer and not Byron who puts such awkward questions
with regard to the "politics of paradise" and the origin of evil. Nobody
seems to have believed him. It was taken for granted that Lucifer was
the mouthpiece of Byron, that the author of _Don Juan_ was not "on the
side of the angels."

Little need be said of the "literature," the pamphlets and poems which
were evoked by the publication of _Cain: A Mystery_. One of the most
prominent assailants (said to be the Rev. H. J. Todd (1763-1845),
Archdeacon of Cleveland, 1832, author _inter alia_ of _Original Sin_,
_Free Will_, etc., 1818) issued _A Remonstrance to Mr. John Murray,
respecting a Recent Publication_, 1822, signed "Oxoniensis." The sting
of the _Remonstrance_ lay in the exposure of the fact that Byron was
indebted to Bayle's _Dictionary_ for his rabbinical legends, and that he
had derived from the same source his Manichean doctrines of the _Two
Principles, etc._, and other "often-refuted sophisms" with regard to the
origin of evil. Byron does not borrow more than a poet and a gentleman
is at liberty to acquire by way of raw material, but it cannot be denied
that he had read and inwardly digested more than one of Bayle's "most
objectionable articles" (_e.g._ "Adam," "Eve," "Abel," "Manichees,"
"Paulicians," etc.). The _Remonstrance_ was answered in _A Letter to Sir
Walter Scott, etc._, by "Harroviensis." Byron welcomed such a "Defender
of the Faith," and was anxious that Murray should print the letter
together with the poem. But Murray belittled the "defender," and was
upbraided in turn for his slowness of heart (letter to Murray, June 6,
1822, _Letters_, 1901, vi. 76).

Fresh combatants rushed into the fray: "Philo-Milton," with a
_Vindication of the "Paradise Lost" from the charge of exculpating
"Cain: A Mystery_," London, 1822; "Britannicus," with a pamphlet
entitled, _Revolutionary Causes, etc., and A Postscript containing
Strictures on "Cain," etc._, London, 1822, etc.; but their works, which
hardly deserve to be catalogued, have perished with them. Finally, in
1830, a barrister named Harding Grant, author of _Chancery Practice_,
compiled a work (_Lord Byron's "Cain," etc., with Notes_) of more than
four hundred pages, in which he treats "the proceedings and speeches of
Lucifer with the same earnestness as if they were existing and earthly
personages." But it was "a week too late." The "Coryphaeus of the Satanic
School" had passed away, and the tumult had "dwindled to a calm."

_Cain_ "appeared in conjunction with" _Sardanapalus_ and _The Two
Foscari_, December 19, 1821. Last but not least of the three plays, it
had been announced "by a separate advertisement (_Morning Chronicle_,
November 24, 1821), for the purpose of exciting the greater curiosity"
(_Memoirs of the Life, etc._ [by John Watkins], 1822, p. 383), and it
was no sooner published than it was pirated. In the following January,
"_Cain: A Mystery_, by the author of _Don Juan_," was issued by W.
Benbow, at Castle Street, Leicester Square (the notorious "Byron Head,"
which Southey described as "one of those preparatory schools for the
brothel and the gallows, where obscenity, sedition, and blasphemy are
retailed in drams for the vulgar"!).

Murray had paid Byron L2710 for the three tragedies, and in order to
protect the copyright, he applied, through counsel (Lancelot Shadwell,
afterwards Vice-Chancellor), for an injunction in Chancery to stop the
sale of piratical editions of _Cain_. In delivering judgment (February
12, 1822), the Chancellor, Lord Eldon (see _Courier_, Wednesday,
February 13), replying to Shadwell, drew a comparison between _Cain_ and
_Paradise Lost_, "which he had read from beginning to end during the
course of the last Long Vacation--_solicitae jucunda oblivia vitae_." No
one, he argued, could deny that the object and effects of _Paradise
Lost_ were "not to bring into disrepute," but "to promote reverence for
our religion," and, _per contra_, no one could affirm that it was
impossible to arrive at an opposite conclusion with regard to "the
Preface, the poem, the general tone and manner of _Cain_." It was a
question for a jury. A jury might decide that _Cain_ was blasphemous,
and void of copyright; and as there was a reasonable doubt in his mind
as to the character of the book, and a doubt as to the conclusion at
which a jury would arrive, he was compelled to refuse the injunction.
According to Dr. Smiles (_Memoir of John Murray_, 1891, i. 428), the
decision of a jury was taken, and an injunction eventually granted. If
so, it was ineffectual, for Benbow issued another edition of _Cain_ in
1824 (see Jacob's _Reports_, p. 474, note). See, too, the case of
Murray _v_. Benbow and Another, as reported in the _Examiner_, February
17, 1822; and cases of Wolcot _v_. Walker, Southey _v_. Sherwood, Murray
_v_. Benbow, and Lawrence _v_. Smith [_Quarterly Review_, April, 1822,
vol. xxvii. pp. 120-138].

"_Cain_," said Moore (February 9, 1822), "has made a sensation." Friends
and champions, the press, the public "turned up their thumbs." Gifford
shook his head; Hobhouse "launched out into a most violent invective"
(letter to Murray, November 24, 1821); Jeffrey, in the _Edinburgh_, was
regretful and hortatory; Heber, in the _Quarterly_, was fault-finding
and contemptuous. The "parsons preached at it from Kentish Town to Pisa"
(letter to Moore, February 20, 1822). Even "the very highest authority
in the land," his Majesty King George IV., "expressed his disapprobation
of the blasphemy and licentiousness of Lord Byron's writings"
(_Examiner_, February 17, 1822). Byron himself was forced to admit that
"my Mont Saint Jean seems Cain" (_Don Juan_, Canto XI. stanza lvi. line
2). The many were unanimous in their verdict, but the higher court of
the few reversed the judgment.

Goethe said that "Its beauty is such as we shall not see a second time
in the world" (_Conversations, etc._, 1874, p. 261); Scott, in speaking
of "the very grand and tremendous drama of _Cain_," said that the author
had "matched Milton on his own ground" (letter to Murray, December 4,
1821, _vide post_, p. 206); "_Cain_," wrote Shelley to Gisborne (April
10, 1822), "is apocalyptic; it is a revelation never before communicated
to man."

Uncritical praise, as well as uncritical censure, belongs to the past;
but the play remains, a singular exercise of "poetic energy," a
confession, _ex animo_, of "the burthen of the mystery, ... the heavy
and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world."

For reviews of _Cain: A Mystery_, _vide ante_, "Introduction to
_Sardanapalus_," p. 5; see, too, _Eclectic Review_, May, 1822, N.S. vol.
xvii. pp. 418-427; _Examiner_, June 2, 1822; _British Review_, 1822,
vol. xix. pp. 94-102.

For O'Doherty's parody of the "Pisa" Letter, February 8, 1822, see
_Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_, February, 1822, vol. xi. pp. 215-217;
and for a review of Harding Grant's _Lord Byron's Cain, etc._, see
_Fraser's Magazine_, April, 1831, iii. 285-304.


                         SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.,

                          THIS MYSTERY OF CAIN

                               IS INSCRIBED,

                           BY HIS OBLIGED FRIEND

                                  AND FAITHFUL SERVANT,

                                            THE AUTHOR.[86]


The following scenes are entitled "A Mystery," in conformity with the
ancient title annexed to dramas upon similar subjects, which were styled
"Mysteries, or Moralities."[87] The author has by no means taken the
same liberties with his subject which were common formerly, as may be
seen by any reader curious enough to refer to those very profane
productions, whether in English, French, Italian, or Spanish. The author
has endeavoured to preserve the language adapted to his characters; and
where it is (and this is but rarely) taken from actual _Scripture_, he
has made as little alteration, even of words, as the rhythm would
permit. The reader will recollect that the book of Genesis does not
state that Eve was tempted by a demon, but by "the Serpent[88];" and
that only because he was "the most subtil of all the beasts of the
field." Whatever interpretation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put
upon this, I take the words as I find them, and reply, with Bishop
Watson[89] upon similar occasions, when the Fathers were quoted to him
as Moderator in the schools of Cambridge, "Behold the Book!"--holding up
the Scripture. It is to be recollected, that my present subject has
nothing to do with the _New Testament_, to which no reference can be
here made without anachronism.[90] With the poems upon similar topics I
have not been recently familiar. Since I was twenty I have never read
Milton; but I had read him so frequently before, that this may make
little difference. Gesner's "Death of Abel" I have never read since I
was eight years of age, at Aberdeen. The general impression of my
recollection is delight; but of the contents I remember only that Cain's
wife was called Mahala, and Abel's Thirza; in the following pages I have
called them "Adah" and "Zillah," the earliest female names which occur
in Genesis. They were those of Lamech's wives: those of Cain and Abel
are not called by their names. Whether, then, a coincidence of subject
may have caused the same in expression, I know nothing, and care as
little. [I[91] am prepared to be accused of Manicheism,[92] or some
other hard name ending in _ism_, which makes a formidable figure and
awful sound in the eyes and ears of those who would be as much puzzled
to explain the terms so bandied about, as the liberal and pious
indulgers in such epithets. Against such I can defend myself, or, if
necessary, I can attack in turn. "Claw for claw, as Conan said to Satan
and the deevil take the shortest nails" (Waverley).[93]]

The reader will please to bear in mind (what few choose to recollect),
that there is no allusion to a future state in any of the books of
Moses, nor indeed in the Old Testament. For a reason for this
extraordinary omission he may consult Warburton's "Divine
Legation;"[94] whether satisfactory or not, no better has yet been
assigned. I have therefore supposed it new to Cain, without, I hope, any
perversion of Holy Writ.

With regard to the language of Lucifer, it was difficult for me to make
him talk like a clergyman upon the same subjects; but I have done what I
could to restrain him within the bounds of spiritual politeness. If he
disclaims having tempted Eve in the shape of the Serpent, it is only
because the book of Genesis has not the most distant allusion to
anything of the kind, but merely to the Serpent in his serpentine

_Note_.--The reader will perceive that the author has partly adopted in
this poem the notion of Cuvier,[95] that the world had been destroyed
several times before the creation of man. This speculation, derived from
the different strata and the bones of enormous and unknown animals found
in them, is not contrary to the Mosaic account, but rather confirms it;
as no human bones have yet been discovered in those strata, although
those of many known animals are found near the remains of the unknown.
The assertion of Lucifer, that the pre-Adamite world was also peopled by
rational beings much more intelligent than man, and proportionably
powerful to the mammoth, etc., etc., is, of course, a poetical fiction
to help him to make out his case.

I ought to add, that there is a "tramelogedia" of Alfieri, called
"Abele."[96] I have never read that, nor any other of the posthumous
works of the writer, except his Life.

RAVENNA, _Sept_. 20, 1821.

                          DRAMATIS PERSONAE.




                              ANGEL OF THE LORD.



                             CAIN: A MYSTERY.

                                  ACT I.

          SCENE I.--_The Land without Paradise.--Time, Sunrise_.

       ADAM, EVE, CAIN, ABEL, ADAH, ZILLAH, _offering a Sacrifice_.

    _Adam_. God, the Eternal! Infinite! All-wise!--
    Who out of darkness on the deep didst make
    Light on the waters with a word--All Hail!
    Jehovah! with returning light--All Hail!

    _Eve_. God! who didst name the day, and separate
    Morning from night, till then divided never--
    Who didst divide the wave from wave, and call
    Part of thy work the firmament--All Hail!

    _Abel_. God! who didst call the elements into
    Earth, ocean, air and fire--and with the day                        10
    And night, and worlds which these illuminate,
    Or shadow, madest beings to enjoy them,
    And love both them and thee--All Hail! All Hail!

    _Adah_. God! the Eternal parent of all things!
    Who didst create these best and beauteous beings,
    To be beloved, more than all, save thee--
    Let me love thee and them:--All Hail! All Hail!

    _Zillah_. Oh, God! who loving, making, blessing all,
    Yet didst permit the Serpent to creep in,
    And drive my father forth from Paradise,                            20
    Keep us from further evil:--Hail! All Hail!

    _Adam_. Son Cain! my first-born--wherefore art thou silent?

    _Cain_. Why should I speak?

    _Adam_.                     To pray.

    _Cain_.                             Have ye not prayed?

    _Adam_. We have, most fervently.

    _Cain_.                           And loudly: I
    Have heard you.

    _Adam_.         So will God, I trust.

    _Abel_.                              Amen!

    _Adam_. But thou my eldest born? art silent still?

    _Cain_. 'Tis better I should be so.

    _Adam_.                              Wherefore so?

    _Cain_. I have nought to ask.

    _Adam_.                        Nor aught to thank for?

    _Cain_.                                               No.

    _Adam_. Dost thou not _live_?

    _Cain_.                       Must I not die?

    _Eve_.                                          Alas!
    The fruit of our forbidden tree begins                              30
    To fall.

    _Adam_. And we must gather it again.
    Oh God! why didst thou plant the tree of knowledge?

    _Cain_. And wherefore plucked ye not the tree of life?
    Ye might have then defied him.

    _Adam_.                        Oh! my son,
    Blaspheme not: these are Serpent's words.

    _Cain_.                                   Why not?
    The snake spoke _truth_; it _was_ the Tree of Knowledge;
    It _was_ the Tree of Life: knowledge is good,
    And Life is good; and how can both be evil?

    _Eve_. My boy! thou speakest as I spoke in sin,
    Before thy birth: let me not see renewed                            40
    My misery in thine. I have repented.
    Let me not see my offspring fall into
    The snares beyond the walls of Paradise,
    Which even in Paradise destroyed his parents.
    Content thee with what _is_. Had we been so,
    Thou now hadst been contented.--Oh, my son!

    _Adam_. Our orisons completed, let us hence,
    Each to his task of toil--not heavy, though
    Needful: the earth is young, and yields us kindly
    Her fruits with little labour.

    _Eve_.                         Cain--my son--                       50
    Behold thy father cheerful and resigned--
    And do as he doth.                           [_Exeunt_ ADAM _and_ EVE.

    _Zillah_.          Wilt thou not, my brother?

    _Abel_. Why wilt thou wear this gloom upon thy brow,
    Which can avail thee nothing, save to rouse
    The Eternal anger?

    _Adah_.             My beloved Cain
    Wilt thou frown even on me?

    _Cain_.                      No, Adah! no;
    I fain would be alone a little while.
    Abel, I'm sick at heart; but it will pass;
    Precede me, brother--I will follow shortly.
    And you, too, sisters, tarry not behind;                            60
    Your gentleness must not be harshly met:
    I'll follow you anon.

    _Adah_.               If not, I will
    Return to seek you here.

    _Abel_.                   The peace of God
    Be on your spirit, brother!
                                       [_Exeunt_ ABEL, ZILLAH, _and_ ADAH.

    _Cain_ (_solus_).           And this is
    Life?--Toil! and wherefore should I toil?--because
    My father could not keep his place in Eden?
    What had _I_ done in this?--I was unborn:
    I sought not to be born; nor love the state
    To which that birth has brought me. Why did he
    Yield to the Serpent and the woman? or                              70
    Yielding--why suffer? What was there in this?
    The tree was planted, and why not for him?
    If not, why place him near it, where it grew
    The fairest in the centre? They have but
    One answer to all questions, "'Twas _his_ will,
    And _he_ is good." How know I that? Because
    He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow?
    I judge but by the fruits--and they are bitter--
    Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.
    Whom have we here?--A shape like to the angels                      80
    Yet of a sterner and a sadder aspect
    Of spiritual essence: why do I quake?
    Why should I fear him more than other spirits,
    Whom I see daily wave their fiery swords
    Before the gates round which I linger oft,
    In Twilight's hour, to catch a glimpse of those
    Gardens which are my just inheritance,
    Ere the night closes o'er the inhibited walls
    And the immortal trees which overtop
    The Cherubim-defended battlements?                                  90
    If I shrink not from these, the fire-armed angels,
    Why should I quail from him who now approaches?
    Yet--he seems mightier far than them, nor less
    Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful
    As he hath been, and might be: sorrow seems
    Half of his immortality.[97] And is it
    So? and can aught grieve save Humanity?
    He cometh.

                             _Enter_ LUCIFER.

    _Lucifer_. Mortal!

    _Cain_.            Spirit, who art thou?

    _Lucifer_. Master of spirits.

    _Cain_.                        And being so, canst thou
    Leave them, and walk with dust?

    _Lucifer_.                     I know the thoughts                 100
    Of dust, and feel for it, and with you.

    _Cain_.                                How!
    You know my thoughts?

    _Lucifer_.            They are the thoughts of all
    Worthy of thought;--'tis your immortal part[98]
    Which speaks within you.

    _Cain_.                   What immortal part?
    This has not been revealed: the Tree of Life
    Was withheld from us by my father's folly,
    While that of Knowledge, by my mother's haste,
    Was plucked too soon; and all the fruit is Death!

    _Lucifer_. They have deceived thee; thou shalt live.

    _Cain_.                                               I live,
    But live to die; and, living, see no thing                         110
    To make death hateful, save an innate clinging,
    A loathsome, and yet all invincible
    Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I
    Despise myself, yet cannot overcome--
    And so I live. Would I had never lived!

    _Lucifer_. Thou livest--and must live for ever. Think not
    The Earth, which is thine outward cov'ring, is
    Existence--it will cease--and thou wilt be--
    No less than thou art now.

    _Cain_.                    No _less_! and why
    No more?

    _Lucifer_.    It may be thou shalt be as we.                       120

    _Cain_. And ye?

    _Lucifer_.      Are everlasting.

    _Cain_.                         Are ye happy?

    _Lucifer_. We are mighty.

    _Cain_.                    Are ye happy?

    _Lucifer_.                               No: art thou?

    _Cain_. How should I be so? Look on me!

    _Lucifer_.                               Poor clay!
    And thou pretendest to be wretched! Thou!

    _Cain_. I am:--and thou, with all thy might, what art thou?

    _Lucifer_. One who aspired to be what made thee, and
    Would not have made thee what thou art.

    _Cain_.                                 Ah!
    Thou look'st almost a god; and----

    _Lucifer_.                        I am none:
    And having failed to be one, would be nought
    Save what I am. He conquered; let him reign!                       130

    _Cain_. Who?

    _Lucifer_.   Thy Sire's maker--and the Earth's.

    _Cain_.                                        And Heaven's,
    And all that in them is. So I have heard
    His Seraphs sing; and so my father saith.

    _Lucifer_. They say--what they must sing and say, on pain
    Of being that which I am,--and thou art--
    Of spirits and of men.

    _Cain_.                And what is that?

    _Lucifer_. Souls who dare use their immortality--
    Souls who dare look the Omnipotent tyrant in
    His everlasting face, and tell him that
    His evil is not good! If he has made,                              140
    As he saith--which I know not, nor believe--
    But, if he made us--he cannot unmake:
    We are immortal!--nay, he'd _have_ us so,
    That he may torture:--let him! He is great--
    But, in his greatness, is no happier than
    We in our conflict! Goodness would not make
    Evil; and what else hath he made? But let him
    Sit on his vast and solitary throne--
    Creating worlds, to make eternity
    Less burthensome to his immense existence                          150
    And unparticipated solitude;[99]
    Let him crowd orb on orb: he is alone
    Indefinite, Indissoluble Tyrant;
    Could he but crush himself, 'twere the best boon
    He ever granted: but let him reign on!
    And multiply himself in misery!
    Spirits and Men, at least we sympathise--
    And, suffering in concert, make our pangs
    Innumerable, more endurable,
    By the unbounded sympathy of all                                   160
    With all! But _He_! so wretched in his height,
    So restless in his wretchedness, must still
    Create, and re-create--perhaps he'll make[100]
    One day a Son unto himself--as he
    Gave you a father--and if he so doth,
    Mark me! that Son will be a sacrifice!

    _Cain_. Thou speak'st to me of things which long have swum
    In visions through my thought: I never could
    Reconcile what I saw with what I heard.
    My father and my mother talk to me                                 170
    Of serpents, and of fruits and trees: I see
    The gates of what they call their Paradise
    Guarded by fiery-sworded Cherubim,
    Which shut them out--and me: I feel the weight
    Of daily toil, and constant thought: I look
    Around a world where I seem nothing, with
    Thoughts which arise within me, as if they
    Could master all things--but I thought alone
    This misery was _mine_. My father is
    Tamed down; my mother has forgot the mind                          180
    Which made her thirst for knowledge at the risk
    Of an eternal curse; my brother is
    A watching shepherd boy,[101] who offers up
    The firstlings of the flock to him who bids
    The earth yield nothing to us without sweat;[by]
    My sister Zillah sings an earlier hymn
    Than the birds' matins; and my Adah--my
    Own and beloved--she, too, understands not
    The mind which overwhelms me: never till
    Now met I aught to sympathise with me.                             190
    'Tis well--I rather would consort with spirits.

    _Lucifer_. And hadst thou not been fit by thine own soul
    For such companionship, I would not now
    Have stood before thee as I am: a serpent
    Had been enough to charm ye, as before.[bz]

    _Cain_. Ah! didst _thou_ tempt my mother?

    _Lucifer_.                                I tempt none,
    Save with the truth: was not the Tree, the Tree
    Of Knowledge? and was not the Tree of Life
    Still fruitful? Did _I_ bid her pluck them not?
    Did I plant things prohibited within                               200
    The reach of beings innocent, and curious
    By their own innocence? I would have made ye
    Gods; and even He who thrust ye forth, so thrust ye
    Because "ye should not eat the fruits of life,
    And become gods as we." Were those his words?

    _Cain_.   They were, as I have heard from those who heard them,
    In thunder.

    _Lucifer_.    Then who was the Demon? He
    Who would not let ye live, or he who would
    Have made ye live for ever, in the joy
    And power of Knowledge?

    _Cain_.                Would they had snatched both                210
    The fruits, or neither!

    _Lucifer_.              One is yours already,
    The other may be still.

    _Cain_.                  How so?

    _Lucifer_.                      By being
    Yourselves, in your resistance. Nothing can
    Quench the mind, if the mind will be itself
    And centre of surrounding things--'tis made
    To sway.

    _Cain_.   But didst thou tempt my parents?

    _Lucifer_.                                  I?
    Poor clay--what should I tempt them for, or how?

    _Cain_. They say the Serpent was a spirit.

    _Lucifer_.                                   Who
    Saith that? It is not written so on high:
    The proud One will not so far falsify,                             220
    Though man's vast fears and little vanity
    Would make him cast upon the spiritual nature
    His own low failing. The snake _was_ the snake--
    No more;[102] and yet not less than those he tempted,
    In nature being earth also--_more_ in _wisdom_,
    Since he could overcome them, and foreknew
    The knowledge fatal to their narrow joys.
    Think'st thou I'd take the shape of things that die?

    _Cain_. But the thing had a demon?

    _Lucifer_.                         He but woke one
    In those he spake to with his forky tongue.                        230
    I tell thee that the Serpent was no more
    Than a mere serpent: ask the Cherubim
    Who guard the tempting tree. When thousand ages
    Have rolled o'er your dead ashes, and your seed's,
    The seed of the then world may thus array
    Their earliest fault in fable, and attribute
    To me a shape I scorn, as I scorn all
    That bows to him, who made things but to bend
    Before his sullen, sole eternity;
    But we, who see the truth, must speak it. Thy                      240
    Fond parents listened to a creeping thing,
    And fell. For what should spirits tempt them? What
    Was there to envy in the narrow bounds
    Of Paradise, that spirits who pervade
    Space----but I speak to thee of what thou know'st not,
    With all thy Tree of Knowledge.

    _Cain_.                         But thou canst not
    Speak aught of Knowledge which I would not know,
    And do not thirst to know, and bear a mind
    To know.

    _Lucifer_.   And heart to look on?

    _Cain_.                           Be it proved.

    _Lucifer_. Darest thou look on Death?

    _Cain_.                                He has not yet              250
    Been seen.

    _Lucifer_. But must be undergone.

    _Cain_.                            My father
    Says he is something dreadful, and my mother
    Weeps when he's named; and Abel lifts his eyes
    To Heaven, and Zillah casts hers to the earth,
    And sighs a prayer; and Adah looks on me,
    And speaks not.

    _Lucifer_.     And thou?

    _Cain_.                 Thoughts unspeakable
    Crowd in my breast to burning, when I hear
    Of this almighty Death, who is, it seems,
    Inevitable. Could I wrestle with him?
    I wrestled with the lion, when a boy,                              260
    In play, till he ran roaring from my gripe.

    _Lucifer_. It has no shape; but will absorb all things
    That bear the form of earth-born being.

    _Cain_.                                 Ah!
    I thought it was a being: who could do
    Such evil things to beings save a being?

    _Lucifer_. Ask the Destroyer.

    _Cain_.                       Who?

    _Lucifer_.                        The Maker--Call him
    Which name thou wilt: he makes but to destroy.

    _Cain_. I knew not that, yet thought it, since I heard
    Of Death: although I know not what it is--
    Yet it seems horrible. I have looked out                           270
    In the vast desolate night in search of him;
    And when I saw gigantic shadows in
    The umbrage of the walls of Eden, chequered
    By the far-flashing of the Cherubs' swords,
    I watched for what I thought his coming; for
    With fear rose longing in my heart to know
    What 'twas which shook us all--but nothing came.
    And then I turned my weary eyes from off
    Our native and forbidden Paradise,
    Up to the lights above us, in the azure,                           280
    Which are so beautiful: shall they, too, die?

    _Lucifer_. Perhaps--but long outlive both thine and thee.

    _Cain_. I'm glad of that: I would not have them die--
    They are so lovely. What is Death? I fear,
    I feel, it is a dreadful thing; but what,
    I cannot compass: 'tis denounced against us,
    Both them who sinned and sinned not, as an ill--
    What ill?

    _Lucifer_. To be resolved into the earth.

    _Cain_. But shall I know it?

    _Lucifer_.                   As I know not death,
    I cannot answer.[103]

    _Cain_.              Were I quiet earth,                           290
    That were no evil: would I ne'er had been
    Aught else but dust!

    _Lucifer_.           That is a _grovelling_ wish,
    Less than thy father's--for he wished to know!

    _Cain_. But not to live--or wherefore plucked he not
    The Life-tree?

    _Lucifer_.    He was hindered.

    _Cain_.                       Deadly error!
    Not to snatch first that fruit:--but ere he plucked
    The knowledge, he was ignorant of Death.
    Alas! I scarcely now know what it is,
    And yet I fear it--fear I know not what!

    _Lucifer_. And I, who know all things, fear nothing; see           300
    What is true knowledge.

    _Cain_.                 Wilt thou teach me all?

    _Lucifer_. Aye, upon one condition.

    _Cain_.                              Name it.

    _Lucifer_.                                    That
    Thou dost fall down and worship me--thy Lord.

    _Cain_. Thou art not the Lord my father worships.

    _Lucifer_.                                         No.

    _Cain_. His equal?

    _Lucifer_.        No;--I have nought in common with him!
    Nor would: I would be aught above--beneath--
    Aught save a sharer or a servant of
    His power. I dwell apart; but I am great:--
    Many there are who worship me, and more
    Who shall--be thou amongst the first.

    _Cain_.                              I never                       310
    As yet have bowed unto my father's God.
    Although my brother Abel oft implores
    That I would join with him in sacrifice:--
    Why should I bow to thee?

    _Lucifer_.                 Hast thou ne'er bowed
    To him?

    _Cain_. Have I not said it?--need I say it?
    Could not thy mighty knowledge teach thee that?

    _Lucifer_. He who bows not to him has bowed to me.[104]

    _Cain_. But I will bend to neither.

    _Lucifer_.                          Ne'er the less,
    Thou art my worshipper; not worshipping
    Him makes thee mine the same.

    _Cain_.                       And what is that?                    320

    _Lucifer_. Thou'lt know here--and hereafter.

    _Cain_.                                      Let me but
    Be taught the mystery of my being.

    _Lucifer_.                        Follow
    Where I will lead thee.

    _Cain_.                 But I must retire
    To till the earth--for I had promised----

    _Lucifer_.                                What?

    _Cain_. To cull some first-fruits.

    _Lucifer_.                        Why?

    _Cain_.                               To offer up
    With Abel on an altar.

    _Lucifer_.            Said'st thou not
    Thou ne'er hadst bent to him who made thee?

    _Cain_.                                     Yes--
    But Abel's earnest prayer has wrought upon me;
    The offering is more his than mine--and Adah----

    _Lucifer_. Why dost thou hesitate?

    _Cain_.                           She is my sister,                330
    Born on the same day, of the same womb; and
    She wrung from me, with tears, this promise; and
    Rather than see her weep, I would, methinks,
    Bear all--and worship aught.

    _Lucifer_.                   Then follow me!

    _Cain_. I will.

                              _Enter_ ADAH.

    _Adah_.         My brother, I have come for thee;
    It is our hour of rest and joy--and we
    Have less without thee. Thou hast laboured not
    This morn; but I have done thy task: the fruits
    Are ripe, and glowing as the light which ripens:
    Come away.

    _Cain_.    Seest thou not?

    _Adah_.                    I see an angel;                         340
    We have seen many: will he share our hour
    Of rest?--he is welcome.

    _Cain_.                  But he is not like
    The angels we have seen.

    _Adah_.                  Are there, then, others?
    But he is welcome, as they were: they deigned
    To be our guests--will he?

    _Cain_ (_to Lucifer_).    Wilt thou?

    _Lucifer_.                          I ask
    Thee to be mine.

    _Cain_.          I must away with him.

    _Adah_. And leave us?

    _Cain_.                Aye.

    _Adah_.                     And _me_?

    _Cain_.                              Beloved Adah!

    _Adah_. Let me go with thee.

    _Lucifer_.                   No, she must not.

    _Adah_.                                       Who
    Art thou that steppest between heart and heart?

    _Cain_. He is a God.

    _Adah_.              How know'st thou?

    _Cain_.                               He speaks like               350
    A God.

    _Adah_. So did the Serpent, and it lied.

    _Lucifer_. Thou errest, Adah!--was not the Tree that
    Of Knowledge?

    _Adah_.      Aye--to our eternal sorrow.

    _Lucifer_. And yet that grief is knowledge--so he lied not:
    And if he did betray you, 'twas with Truth;
    And Truth in its own essence cannot be
    But good.

    _Adah_.    But all we know of it has gathered
    Evil on ill; expulsion from our home,
    And dread, and toil, and sweat, and heaviness;
    Remorse of that which was--and hope of that                        360
    Which cometh not. Cain! walk not with this Spirit.
    Bear with what we have borne, and love me--I
    Love thee.

    _Lucifer_. More than thy mother, and thy sire?

    _Adah_. I do. Is that a sin, too?

    _Lucifer_.                         No, not yet;
    It one day will be in your children.

    _Adah_.                              What!
    Must not my daughter love her brother Enoch?

    _Lucifer_. Not as thou lovest Cain.

    _Adah_.                             Oh, my God!
    Shall they not love and bring forth things that love
    Out of their love? have they not drawn their milk
    Out of this bosom? was not he, their father,                       370
    Born of the same sole womb,[105] in the same hour
    With me? did we not love each other? and
    In multiplying our being multiply
    Things which will love each other as we love
    Them?--And as I love thee, my Cain! go not
    Forth with this spirit; he is not of ours.

    _Lucifer_. The sin I speak of is not of my making,
    And cannot be a sin in you--whate'er
    It seem in those who will replace ye in

    _Adah_. What is the sin which is not                               380
    Sin in itself? Can circumstance make sin
    Or virtue?--if it doth, we are the slaves

    _Lucifer_. Higher things than ye are slaves: and higher
    Than them or ye would be so, did they not
    Prefer an independency of torture
    To the smooth agonies of adulation,
    In hymns and harpings, and self-seeking prayers,
    To that which is omnipotent, because
    It is omnipotent, and not from love,
    But terror and self-hope.

    _Adah_.                   Omnipotence                              390
    Must be all goodness.

    _Lucifer_.            Was it so in Eden?

    _Adah_. Fiend! tempt me not with beauty; thou art fairer
    Than was the Serpent, and as false.

    _Lucifer_.                          As true.
    Ask Eve, your mother: bears she not the knowledge
    Of good and evil?

    _Adah_.          Oh, my mother! thou
    Hast plucked a fruit more fatal to thine offspring
    Than to thyself; thou at the least hast passed
    Thy youth in Paradise, in innocent
    And happy intercourse with happy spirits:
    But we, thy children, ignorant of Eden,                            400
    Are girt about by demons, who assume
    The words of God, and tempt us with our own
    Dissatisfied and curious thoughts--as thou
    Wert worked on by the snake, in thy most flushed
    And heedless, harmless wantonness of bliss.
    I cannot answer this immortal thing
    Which stands before me; I cannot abhor him;
    I look upon him with a pleasing fear,
    And yet I fly not from him: in his eye
    There is a fastening attraction which                              410
    Fixes my fluttering eyes on his; my heart
    Beats quick; he awes me, and yet draws me near,
    Nearer and nearer:--Cain--Cain--save me from him!

    _Cain_. What dreads my Adah? This is no ill spirit.

    _Adah_. He is not God--nor God's: I have beheld
    The Cherubs and the Seraphs; he looks not
    Like them.

    _Cain_.   But there are spirits loftier still--
    The archangels.

    _Lucifer_.     And still loftier than the archangels.

    _Adah_. Aye--but not blessed.

    _Lucifer_.                    If the blessedness
    Consists in slavery--no.

    _Adah_.                 I have heard it said,                      420
    The Seraphs _love most_--Cherubim _know most_[107]--
    And this should be a Cherub--since he loves not.

    _Lucifer_. And if the higher knowledge quenches love,
    What must _he be_ you cannot love when known?[ca]
    Since the all-knowing Cherubim love least,
    The Seraphs' love can be but ignorance:
    That they are not compatible, the doom
    Of thy fond parents, for their daring, proves.
    Choose betwixt Love and Knowledge--since there is
    No other choice: your sire hath chosen already:                    430
    His worship is but fear.

    _Adah_.                 Oh, Cain! choose Love.

    _Cain_. For thee, my Adah, I choose not--It was
    Born with me--but I love nought else.

    _Adah_.                              Our parents?

    _Cain_. Did they love us when they snatched from the Tree
    That which hath driven us all from Paradise?

    _Adah_. We were not born then--and if we had been,
    Should we not love them--and our children, Cain?

    _Cain_. My little Enoch! and his lisping sister!
    Could I but deem them happy, I would half
    Forget----but it can never be forgotten                            440
    Through thrice a thousand generations! never
    Shall men love the remembrance of the man
    Who sowed the seed of evil and mankind
    In the same hour! They plucked the tree of science
    And sin--and, not content with their own sorrow,
    Begot _me_--_thee_--and all the few that are,
    And all the unnumbered and innumerable
    Multitudes, millions, myriads, which may be,
    To inherit agonies accumulated
    By ages!--and _I_ must be sire of such things!                     450
    Thy beauty and thy love--my love and joy,
    The rapturous moment and the placid hour,
    All we love in our children and each other,
    But lead them and ourselves through many years
    Of sin and pain--or few, but still of sorrow,
    Interchecked with an instant of brief pleasure,
    To Death--the unknown! Methinks the Tree of Knowledge
    Hath not fulfilled its promise:--if they sinned,
    At least they ought to have known all things that are
    Of knowledge--and the mystery of Death[cb].                        460
    What do they know?--that they are miserable.
    What need of snakes and fruits to teach us that?

    _Adah_. I am not wretched, Cain, and if thou
    Wert happy----

    _Cain_.       Be thou happy, then, alone--
    I will have nought to do with happiness,
    Which humbles me and mine.

    _Adah_.                    Alone I could not,
    Nor _would_ be happy; but with those around us
    I think I could be so, despite of Death,
    Which, as I know it not, I dread not, though
    It seems an awful shadow--if I may                                 470
    Judge from what I have heard.

    _Lucifer_.                    And thou couldst not
    _Alone_, thou say'st, be happy?

    _Adah_.                         Alone! Oh, my God!
    Who could be happy and alone, or good?
    To me my solitude seems sin; unless
    When I think how soon I shall see my brother,
    His brother, and our children, and our parents.

    _Lucifer_. Yet thy God is alone; and is he happy?
    Lonely, and good?

    _Adah_.           He is not so; he hath
    The angels and the mortals to make happy,
    And thus becomes so in diffusing joy.                              480
    What else can joy be, but the spreading joy?[cc]

    _Lucifer_. Ask of your sire, the exile fresh from Eden;
    Or of his first-born son: ask your own heart;
    It is not tranquil.

    _Adah_.            Alas! no! and you--
    Are you of Heaven?

    _Lucifer_.         If I am not, enquire
    The cause of this all-spreading happiness
    (Which you proclaim) of the all-great and good
    Maker of life and living things; it is
    His secret, and he keeps it. _We_ must bear,
    And some of us resist--and both in vain,                           490
    His Seraphs say: but it is worth the trial,
    Since better may not be without: there is
    A wisdom in the spirit, which directs
    To right, as in the dim blue air the eye
    Of you, young mortals, lights at once upon
    The star which watches, welcoming the morn.

    _Adah_. It is a beautiful star; I love it for
    Its beauty.

    _Lucifer_.    And why not adore?

    _Adah_.                         Our father
    Adores the Invisible only.

    _Lucifer_.                But the symbols
    Of the Invisible are the loveliest                                 500
    Of what is visible; and yon bright star
    Is leader of the host of Heaven.

    _Adah_.                         Our father
    Saith that he has beheld the God himself
    Who made him and our mother.

    _Lucifer_.                  Hast _thou_ seen him?

    _Adah_. Yes--in his works.

    _Lucifer_.                 But in his being?

    _Adah_.                                     No--
    Save in my father, who is God's own image;
    Or in his angels, who are like to thee--
    And brighter, yet less beautiful and powerful
    In seeming: as the silent sunny noon,
    All light, they look upon us; but thou seem'st                     510
    Like an ethereal night[108], where long white clouds
    Streak the deep purple, and unnumbered stars
    Spangle the wonderful mysterious vault
    With things that look as if they would be suns;
    So beautiful, unnumbered, and endearing,
    Not dazzling, and yet drawing us to them,
    They fill my eyes with tears, and so dost thou.
    Thou seem'st unhappy: do not make us so,
    And I will weep for thee.

    _Lucifer_.                Alas! those tears!
    Couldst thou but know what oceans will be shed----                 520

    _Adah_. By me?

    _Lucifer_.     By all.

    _Adah_.               What all?

    _Lucifer_.                     The million millions--
    The myriad myriads--the all-peopled earth--
    The unpeopled earth--and the o'er-peopled Hell,
    Of which thy bosom is the germ.

    _Adah_.                        O Cain!
    This spirit curseth us.

    _Cain_.                Let him say on;
    Him will I follow.

    _Adah_.            Whither?

    _Lucifer_.                 To a place
    _Whence_ he shall come back to thee in an hour;
    But in that hour see things of many days.

    _Adah_. How can that be?

    _Lucifer_.               Did not your Maker make
    Out of old worlds this new one in few days?                        530
    And cannot I, who aided in this work,
    Show in an hour what he hath made in many,
    Or hath destroyed in few?

    _Cain_.                  Lead on.

    _Adah_.                          Will he,
    In sooth, return within an hour?

    _Lucifer_.                       He shall.
    With us acts are exempt from time, and we
    Can crowd eternity into an hour,
    Or stretch an hour into eternity:
    We breathe not by a mortal measurement--
    But that's a mystery. Cain, come on with me.

    _Adah_. Will he return?

    _Lucifer_.              Aye, woman! he alone                       540
    Of mortals from that place (the first and last
    Who shall return, save ONE), shall come back to thee,
    To make that silent and expectant world
    As populous as this: at present there
    Are few inhabitants.

    _Adah_.             Where dwellest thou?

    _Lucifer_. Throughout all space. Where should I dwell? Where are
    Thy God or Gods--there am I: all things are
    Divided with me: Life and Death--and Time--
    Eternity--and heaven and earth--and that
    Which is not heaven nor earth, but peopled with                    550
    Those who once peopled or shall people both--
    These are my realms! so that I do divide
    _His_, and possess a kingdom which is not
    _His_[109]. If I were not that which I have said,
    Could I stand here? His angels are within
    Your vision.

    _Adah_.      So they were when the fair Serpent
    Spoke with our mother first.

    _Lucifer_.                  Cain! thou hast heard.
    If thou dost long for knowledge, I can satiate
    That thirst; nor ask thee to partake of fruits
    Which shall deprive thee of a single good                          560
    The Conqueror has left thee. Follow me.

    _Cain_. Spirit, I have said it.
                                             [_Exeunt_ LUCIFER _and_ CAIN.

    _Adah_ (_follows exclaiming_). Cain! my brother! Cain!

                                 ACT II.

                     SCENE I.--_The Abyss of Space_.

    _Cain_. I tread on air, and sink not--yet I fear
    To sink.

    _Lucifer_. Have faith in me, and thou shalt be
    Borne on the air[110], of which I am the Prince.

    _Cain_. Can I do so without impiety?

    _Lucifer_. Believe--and sink not! doubt--and perish! thus
    Would run the edict of the other God,
    Who names me Demon to his angels; they
    Echo the sound to miserable things,
    Which, knowing nought beyond their shallow senses,
    Worship the _word_ which strikes their ear, and deem                10
    Evil or good what is proclaimed to them
    In their abasement. I will have none such:
    Worship or worship not, thou shalt behold
    The worlds beyond thy little world, nor be
    Amerced for doubts beyond thy little life,
    With torture of _my_ dooming. There will come
    An hour, when, tossed upon some water-drops[cd],
    A man shall say to a man, "Believe in me,
    And walk the waters;" and the man shall walk
    The billows and be safe. _I_ will not say,                          20
    Believe in _me_, as a conditional creed
    To save thee; but fly with me o'er the gulf
    Of space an equal flight, and I will show
    What thou dar'st not deny,--the history
    Of past--and present, and of future worlds.

    _Cain_. Oh God! or Demon! or whate'er thou art,
    Is yon our earth?

    _Lucifer_.        Dost thou not recognise
    The dust which formed your father?

    _Cain_.                            Can it be?
    Yon small blue circle, swinging in far ether[ce],
    With an inferior circlet purpler it still[111],                     30
    Which looks like that which lit our earthly night?
    Is this our Paradise? Where are its walls,
    And they who guard them?

    _Lucifer_.               Point me out the site
    Of Paradise.

    _Cain_.      How should I? As we move
    Like sunbeams onward, it grows small and smaller,
    And as it waxes little, and then less,
    Gathers a halo round it, like the light
    Which shone the roundest of the stars, when I
    Beheld them from the skirts of Paradise:
    Methinks they both, as we recede from them,                         40
    Appear to join the innumerable stars
    Which are around us; and, as we move on,
    Increase their myriads.

    _Lucifer_.              And if there should be
    Worlds greater than thine own--inhabited
    By greater things--and they themselves far more
    In number than the dust of thy dull earth,
    Though multiplied to animated atoms,
    All living--and all doomed to death--and wretched,
    What wouldst thou think?

    _Cain_.                  I should be proud of thought
    Which knew such things.

    _Lucifer_.              But if that high thought were               50
    Linked to a servile mass of matter--and,
    Knowing such things, aspiring to such things,
    And science still beyond them, were chained down
    To the most gross and petty paltry wants,
    All foul and fulsome--and the very best
    Of thine enjoyments a sweet degradation,
    A most enervating and filthy cheat
    To lure thee on to the renewal of
    Fresh souls and bodies[112], all foredoomed to be
    As frail, and few so happy----

    _Cain_.                        Spirit! I                            60
    Know nought of Death, save as a dreadful thing
    Of which I have heard my parents speak, as of
    A hideous heritage I owe to them
    No less than life--a heritage not happy,
    If I may judge, till now. But, Spirit! if
    It be as thou hast said (and I within
    Feel the prophetic torture of its truth),
    Here let me die: for to give birth to those
    Who can but suffer many years, and die--
    Methinks is merely propagating Death,                               70
    And multiplying murder.

    _Lucifer_.              Thou canst not
    _All_ die--there is what must survive.

    _Cain_.                                The Other
    Spake not of this unto my father, when
    He shut him forth from Paradise, with death
    Written upon his forehead. But at least
    Let what is mortal of me perish, that
    I may be in the rest as angels are.

    _Lucifer_. _I_ am angelic: wouldst thou be as I am?

    _Cain_. I know not what thou art: I see thy power,
    And see thou show'st me things beyond _my_ power,                   80
    Beyond all power of my born faculties,
    Although inferior still to my desires
    And my conceptions.

    _Lucifer_.          What are they which dwell
    So humbly in their pride, as to sojourn
    With worms in clay?

    _Cain_.            And what art thou who dwellest
    So haughtily in spirit, and canst range
    Nature and immortality--and yet
    Seem'st sorrowful?

    _Lucifer_.         I seem that which I am;
    And therefore do I ask of thee, if thou
    Wouldst be immortal?

    _Cain_.             Thou hast said, I must be                       90
    Immortal in despite of me. I knew not
    This until lately--but since it must be,
    Let me, or happy or unhappy, learn
    To anticipate my immortality.

    _Lucifer_. Thou didst before I came upon thee.

    _Cain_.                                        How?

    _Lucifer_. By suffering.

    _Cain_.                  And must torture be immortal?

    _Lucifer_. We and thy sons will try. But now, behold!
    Is it not glorious?

    _Cain_.             Oh thou beautiful
    And unimaginable ether! and
    Ye multiplying masses of increased                                 100
    And still-increasing lights! what are ye? what
    Is this blue wilderness of interminable
    Air, where ye roll along, as I have seen
    The leaves along the limpid streams of Eden?
    Is your course measured for ye? Or do ye
    Sweep on in your unbounded revelry
    Through an aerial universe of endless
    Expansion--at which my soul aches to think--
    Intoxicated with eternity[113]?
    Oh God! Oh Gods! or whatsoe'er ye are!                             110
    How beautiful ye are! how beautiful
    Your works, or accidents, or whatsoe'er
    They may be! Let me die, as atoms die,
    (If that they die), or know ye in your might
    And knowledge! My thoughts are not in this hour
    Unworthy what I see, though my dust is;
    Spirit! let me expire, or see them nearer.

    _Lucifer_. Art thou not nearer? look back to thine earth!

    _Cain_. Where is it? I see nothing save a mass
    Of most innumerable lights.

    _Lucifer_.                  Look there!                            120

    _Cain_. I cannot see it.

    _Lucifer_.               Yet it sparkles still.

    _Cain_. That!--yonder!

    _Lucifer_.            Yea.

    _Cain_.                   And wilt thou tell me so?
    Why, I have seen the fire-flies and fire-worms
    Sprinkle the dusky groves and the green banks
    In the dim twilight, brighter than yon world
    Which bears them.

    _Lucifer_.        Thou hast seen both worms and worlds,
    Each bright and sparkling--what dost think of them?

    _Cain_. That they are beautiful in their own sphere,
    And that the night, which makes both beautiful,
    The little shining fire-fly in its flight,                         130
    And the immortal star in its great course,
    Must both be guided.

    _Lucifer_.           But by whom or what?

    _Cain_. Show me.

    _Lucifer_.       Dar'st thou behold?

    _Cain_.                            How know I what
    I _dare_ behold? As yet, thou hast shown nought
    I dare not gaze on further.

    _Lucifer_.                  On, then, with me.
    Wouldst thou behold things mortal or immortal?

    _Cain_. Why, what are things?

    _Lucifer_.                  _Both_ partly: but what doth
    Sit next thy heart?

    _Cain_.            The things I see.

    _Lucifer_.                          But what
    _Sate_ nearest it?

    _Cain_.           The things I have not seen,
    Nor ever shall--the mysteries of Death.                            140

    _Lucifer_. What, if I show to thee things which have died,
    As I have shown thee much which cannot die?

    _Cain_. Do so.

    _Lucifer_.     Away, then! on our mighty wings!

    _Cain_. Oh! how we cleave the blue! The stars fade from us!
    The earth! where is my earth? Let me look on it,
    For I was made of it.

    _Lucifer_.           'Tis now beyond thee,
    Less, in the universe, than thou in it;
    Yet deem not that thou canst escape it; thou
    Shalt soon return to earth, and all its dust:
    'Tis part of thy eternity, and mine.                               150

    _Cain_. Where dost thou lead me?

    _Lucifer_.                      To what was before thee!
    The phantasm of the world; of which thy world
    Is but the wreck.

    _Cain_.           What! is it not then new?

    _Lucifer_. No more than life is; and that was ere thou
    Or _I_ were, or the things which seem to us
    Greater than either: many things will have
    No end; and some, which would pretend to have
    Had no beginning, have had one as mean
    As thou; and mightier things have been extinct
    To make way for much meaner than we can                            160
    Surmise; for _moments_ only and the _space_
    Have been and must be all _unchangeable_.
    But changes make not death, except to clay;
    But thou art clay--and canst but comprehend
    That which was clay, and such thou shall behold.

    _Cain_. Clay--Spirit--what thou wilt--I can survey.

    _Lucifer_. Away, then!

    _Cain_.                But the lights fade from me fast,
    And some till now grew larger as we approached,
    And wore the look of worlds.

    _Lucifer_.                   And such they are.

    _Cain_. And Edens in them?

    _Lucifer_.                 It may be.

    _Cain_.                              And men?                      170

    _Lucifer_. Yea, or things higher.

    _Cain_.                           Aye! and serpents too?[cf]

    _Lucifer_. Wouldst thou have men without them? must no reptiles
    Breathe, save the erect ones?

    _Cain_.                       How the lights recede!
    Where fly we?

    _Lucifer_.    To the world of phantoms, which
    Are beings past, and shadows still to come.

    _Cain_. But it grows dark, and dark--the stars are gone!

    _Lucifer_. And yet thou seest.

    _Cain_.                       'Tis a fearful light!
    No sun--no moon--no lights innumerable--
    The very blue of the empurpled night
    Fades to a dreary twilight--yet I see                              180
    Huge dusky masses; but unlike the worlds
    We were approaching, which, begirt with light,
    Seemed full of life even when their atmosphere
    Of light gave way, and showed them taking shapes
    Unequal, of deep valleys and vast mountains;
    And some emitting sparks, and some displaying
    Enormous liquid plains, and some begirt
    With luminous belts, and floating moons, which took,
    Like them, the features of fair earth:--instead,
    All here seems dark and dreadful.

    _Lucifer_.                         But distinct.                   190
    Thou seekest to behold Death, and dead things?

    _Cain_. I seek it not; but as I know there are
    Such, and that my sire's sin makes him and me,
    And all that we inherit, liable
    To such, I would behold, at once, what I
    Must one day see perforce.

    _Lucifer_.                  Behold!

    _Cain_.                            'Tis darkness!

    _Lucifer_. And so it shall be ever--but we will
    Unfold its gates!

    _Cain_.           Enormous vapours roll
    Apart--what's this?

    _Lucifer_.          Enter!

    _Cain_.                   Can I return?

    _Lucifer_. Return! be sure: how else should Death be peopled?      200
    Its present realm is thin to what it will be,
    Through thee and thine.

    _Cain_.                 The clouds still open wide
    And wider, and make widening circles round us!

    _Lucifer_. Advance!

    _Cain_.             And thou!

    _Lucifer_.                   Fear not--without me thou
    Couldst not have gone beyond thy world. On! on!
                                     [_They disappear through the clouds_.

                           SCENE II.--_Hades_.

                       _Enter_ LUCIFER _and_ CAIN.

    _Cain_. How silent and how vast are these dim worlds!
    For they seem more than one, and yet more peopled
    Than the huge brilliant luminous orbs which swung
    So thickly in the upper air, that I
    Had deemed them rather the bright populace
    Of some all unimaginable Heaven,
    Than things to be inhabited themselves,[cg]
    But that on drawing near them I beheld
    Their swelling into palpable immensity
    Of matter, which seemed made for life to dwell on,                  10
    Rather than life itself. But here, all is
    So shadowy, and so full of twilight, that
    It speaks of a day past.

    _Lucifer_.              It is the realm
    Of Death.--Wouldst have it present?

    _Cain_.                             Till I know
    That which it really is, I cannot answer.
    But if it be as I have heard my father
    Deal out in his long homilies, 'tis a thing--
    Oh God! I dare not think on't! Cursed be
    He who invented Life that leads to Death!
    Or the dull mass of life, that, being life,                         20
    Could not retain, but needs must forfeit it--
    Even for the innocent!

    _Lucifer_.             Dost thou curse thy father?

    _Cain_. Cursed he not me in giving me my birth?
    Cursed he not me before my birth, in daring
    To pluck the fruit forbidden?

    _Lucifer_.                    Thou say'st well:
    The curse is mutual 'twixt thy sire and thee--
    But for thy sons and brother?

    _Cain_.                       Let them share it
    With me, their sire and brother! What else is
    Bequeathed to me? I leave them my inheritance!
    Oh, ye interminable gloomy realms                                   30
    Of swimming shadows and enormous shapes,
    Some fully shown, some indistinct, and all
    Mighty and melancholy--what are ye?
    Live ye, or have ye lived?

    _Lucifer_.                 Somewhat of both.

    _Cain_. Then what is Death?

    _Lucifer_.                  What? Hath not he who made ye
    Said 'tis another life?

    _Cain_.                 Till now he hath
    Said nothing, save that all shall die.

    _Lucifer_.                             Perhaps
    He one day will unfold that further secret.

    _Cain_. Happy the day!

    _Lucifer_.             Yes; happy! when unfolded,
    Through agonies unspeakable, and clogged                            40
    With agonies eternal, to innumerable
    Yet unborn myriads of unconscious atoms,
    All to be animated for this only!

    _Cain_. What are these mighty phantoms which I see
    Floating around me?--They wear not the form
    Of the Intelligences I have seen
    Round our regretted and unentered Eden;
    Nor wear the form of man as I have viewed it
    In Adam's and in Abel's, and in mine,
    Nor in my sister-bride's, nor in my children's:                     50
    And yet they have an aspect, which, though not
    Of men nor angels, looks like something, which,
    If not the last, rose higher than the first,
    Haughty, and high, and beautiful, and full
    Of seeming strength, but of inexplicable
    Shape; for I never saw such. They bear not
    The wing of Seraph, nor the face of man,
    Nor form of mightiest brute, nor aught that is
    Now breathing; mighty yet and beautiful
    As the most beautiful and mighty which                              60
    Live, and yet so unlike them, that I scarce
    Can call them living.[114]

    _Lucifer_.               Yet they lived.

    _Cain_.                                  Where?

    _Lucifer_.                                      Where
    Thou livest.

    _Cain_.      When?

    _Lucifer_.         On what thou callest earth
    They did inhabit.

    _Cain_.           Adam is the first.

    _Lucifer_. Of thine, I grant thee--but too mean to be
    The last of these.

    _Cain_.            And what are they?

    _Lucifer_.                           That which
    Thou shalt be.

    _Cain_.        But what _were_ they?

    _Lucifer_.                          Living, high,
    Intelligent, good, great, and glorious things,
    As much superior unto all thy sire
    Adam could e'er have been in Eden, as                               70
    The sixty-thousandth generation shall be,
    In its dull damp degeneracy, to
    Thee and thy son;--and how weak they are, judge
    By thy own flesh.

    _Cain_.           Ah me! and did _they_ perish?

    _Lucifer_. Yes, from their earth, as thou wilt fade from thine.

    _Cain_. But was _mine_ theirs?

    _Lucifer_.                      It was.

    _Cain_.                                But not as now.
    It is too little and too lowly to
    Sustain such creatures.

    _Lucifer_.              True, it was more glorious.

    _Cain_. And wherefore did it fall?

    _Lucifer_.                         Ask him who fells.[115]

    _Cain_. But how?

    _Lucifer_.        By a most crushing and inexorable                 80
    Destruction and disorder of the elements,
    Which struck a world to chaos, as a chaos
    Subsiding has struck out a world: such things,
    Though rare in time, are frequent in eternity.--
    Pass on, and gaze upon the past.

    _Cain_.                          'Tis awful!

    _Lucifer_. And true. Behold these phantoms! they were once
    Material as thou art.

    _Cain_.               And must I be
    Like them?

    _Lucifer_. Let He[116] who made thee answer that.
    I show thee what thy predecessors are,
    And what they _were_ thou feelest, in degree                        90
    Inferior as thy petty feelings and
    Thy pettier portion of the immortal part
    Of high intelligence and earthly strength.
    What ye in common have with what they had
    Is Life, and what ye _shall_ have--Death: the rest
    Of your poor attributes is such as suits
    Reptiles engendered out of the subsiding
    Slime of a mighty universe, crushed into
    A scarcely-yet shaped planet, peopled with
    Things whose enjoyment was to be in blindness--                    100
    A Paradise of Ignorance, from which
    Knowledge was barred as poison. But behold
    What these superior beings are or were;
    Or, if it irk thee, turn thee back and till
    The earth, thy task--I'll waft thee there in safety.

    _Cain_. No: I'll stay here.

    _Lucifer_.                   How long?

    _Cain_.                               For ever! Since
    I must one day return here from the earth,
    I rather would remain; I am sick of all
    That dust has shown me--let me dwell in shadows.

    _Lucifer_. It cannot be: thou now beholdest as                     110
    A vision that which is reality.
    To make thyself fit for this dwelling, thou
    Must pass through what the things thou seest have passed--
    The gates of Death.

    _Cain_.             By what gate have we entered
    Even now?

    _Lucifer_. By mine! But, plighted to return,
    My spirit buoys thee up to breathe in regions
    Where all is breathless save thyself. Gaze on;
    But do not think to dwell here till thine hour
    Is come!

    _Cain_. And these, too--can they ne'er repass
    To earth again?

    _Lucifer_.      _Their_ earth is gone for ever--                   120
    So changed by its convulsion, they would not
    Be conscious to a single present spot
    Of its new scarcely hardened surface--'twas--
    Oh, what a beautiful world it _was_!

    _Cain_.                               And is!
    It is not with the earth, though I must till it,
    I feel at war--but that I may not profit
    By what it bears of beautiful, untoiling,
    Nor gratify my thousand swelling thoughts
    With knowledge, nor allay my thousand fears
    Of Death and Life.

    _Lucifer_.       What thy world is, thou see'st,                   130
    But canst not comprehend the shadow of
    That which it was.

    _Cain_.            And those enormous creatures,
    Phantoms inferior in intelligence
    (At least so seeming) to the things we have passed,
    Resembling somewhat the wild habitants
    Of the deep woods of earth, the hugest which
    Roar nightly in the forest, but ten-fold
    In magnitude and terror; taller than
    The cherub-guarded walls of Eden--with
    Eyes flashing like the fiery swords which fence them--             140
    And tusks projecting like the trees stripped of
    Their bark and branches--what were they?

    _Lucifer_.                               That which
    The Mammoth is in thy world;--but these lie
    By myriads underneath its surface.

    _Cain_.                            But
    None on it?

    _Lucifer_.   No: for thy frail race to war
    With them would render the curse on it useless--
    'Twould be destroyed so early.

    _Cain_.                        But why _war_?

    _Lucifer_. You have forgotten the denunciation
    Which drove your race from Eden--war with all things,
    And death to all things, and disease to most things,               150
    And pangs, and bitterness; these were the fruits
    Of the forbidden tree.

    _Cain_.                But animals--
    Did they, too, eat of it, that they must die?

    _Lucifer_. Your Maker told ye, _they_ were made for you,
    As you for him.--You would not have their doom
    Superior to your own? Had Adam not
    Fallen, all had stood.

    _Cain_.                 Alas! the hopeless wretches!
    They too must share my sire's fate, like his sons;
    Like them, too, without having shared the apple;
    Like them, too, without the so dear-bought _knowledge_!            160
    It was a lying tree--for we _know_ nothing.
    At least it _promised knowledge_ at the _price_
    Of death--but _knowledge_ still: but what _knows_ man?

    _Lucifer_. It may be death leads to the _highest_ knowledge;
    And being of all things the sole thing certain,[ch]
    At least leads to the _surest_ science: therefore
    The Tree was true, though deadly.

    _Cain_.                          These dim realms!
    I see them, but I know them not.

    _Lucifer_.                    Because
    Thy hour is yet afar, and matter cannot
    Comprehend spirit wholly--but 'tis something                       170
    To know there are such realms.

    _Cain_.                        We knew already
    That there was Death.

    _Lucifer_.            But not what was beyond it.

    _Cain_. Nor know I now.

    _Lucifer_.             Thou knowest that there is
    A state, and many states beyond thine own--
    And this thou knewest not this morn.

    _Cain_.                              But all
    Seems dim and shadowy.

    _Lucifer_.             Be content; it will
    Seem clearer to thine immortality.

    _Cain_. And yon immeasurable liquid space
    Of glorious azure which floats on beyond us,
    Which looks like water, and which I should deem[ci]                180
    The river which flows out of Paradise
    Past my own dwelling, but that it is bankless
    And boundless, and of an ethereal hue--
    What is it?

    _Lucifer_.   There is still some such on earth,
    Although inferior, and thy children shall
    Dwell near it--'tis the phantasm of an Ocean.

    _Cain_. 'Tis like another world; a liquid sun--
    And those inordinate creatures sporting o'er
    Its shining surface?

    _Lucifer_.           Are its inhabitants,
    The past Leviathans.

    _Cain_.               And yon immense                              190
    Serpent, which rears his dripping mane and vasty
    Head, ten times higher than the haughtiest cedar,
    Forth from the abyss, looking as he could coil
    Himself around the orbs we lately looked on--
    Is he not of the kind which basked beneath
    The Tree in Eden?

    _Lucifer_.         Eve, thy mother, best
    Can tell what shape of serpent tempted her.

    _Cain_. This seems too terrible. No doubt the other
    Had more of beauty.

    _Lucifer_.           Hast thou ne'er beheld him?

    _Cain_. Many of the same kind (at least so called)                 200
    But never that precisely, which persuaded
    The fatal fruit, nor even of the same aspect.

    _Lucifer_. Your father saw him not?

    _Cain_.                             No: 'twas my mother
    Who tempted him--she tempted by the serpent.

    _Lucifer_. Good man! whene'er thy wife, or thy sons' wives,
    Tempt thee or them to aught that's new or strange,
    Be sure thou seest first who hath tempted _them_!

    _Cain_. Thy precept comes too late: there is no more
    For serpents to tempt woman to.

    _Lucifer_.                      But there
    Are some things still which woman may tempt man to,                210
    And man tempt woman:--let thy sons look to it!
    My counsel is a kind one; for 'tis even
    Given chiefly at my own expense; 'tis true,
    'Twill not be followed, so there's little lost.[117]

    _Cain_. I understand not this.

    _Lucifer_.                     The happier thou!--
    Thy world and thou are still too young! Thou thinkest
    Thyself most wicked and unhappy--is it
    Not so?

    _Cain_. For crime, I know not; but for pain,
    I have felt much.

    _Lucifer_.        First-born of the first man!
    Thy present state of sin--and thou art evil,                       220
    Of sorrow--and thou sufferest, are both Eden
    In all its innocence compared to what
    _Thou_ shortly may'st be; and that state again,
    In its redoubled wretchedness, a Paradise
    To what thy sons' sons' sons, accumulating
    In generations like to dust (which they
    In fact but add to), shall endure and do.--
    Now let us back to earth!

    _Cain_.                   And wherefore didst thou
    Lead me here only to inform me this?

    _Lucifer_. Was not thy quest for knowledge?

    _Cain_.                                     Yes--as being          230
    The road to happiness!

    _Lucifer_.             If truth be so,
    Thou hast it.

    _Cain_.       Then my father's God did well
    When he prohibited the fatal Tree.

    _Lucifer_. But had done better in not planting it.
    But ignorance of evil doth not save
    From evil; it must still roll on the same,
    A part of all things.

    _Cain_.               Not of all things. No--
    I'll not believe it--for I thirst for good.

    _Lucifer_. And who and what doth not? _Who_ covets evil
    For its own bitter sake?--_None_--nothing! 'tis                    240
    The leaven of all life, and lifelessness.

    _Cain_. Within those glorious orbs which we behold,
    Distant, and dazzling, and innumerable,
    Ere we came down into this phantom realm,
    Ill cannot come: they are too beautiful.

    _Lucifer_. Thou hast seen them from afar.

    _Cain_.                                   And what of that?
    Distance can but diminish glory--they,
    When nearer, must be more ineffable.

    _Lucifer_. Approach the things of earth most beautiful,
    And judge their beauty near.

    _Cain_.                      I have done this--                    250
    The loveliest thing I know is loveliest nearest.

    _Lucifer_. Then there must be delusion.--What is that
    Which being nearest to thine eyes is still
    More beautiful than beauteous things remote?

    _Cain_. My sister Adah.--All the stars of heaven,
    The deep blue noon of night, lit by an orb
    Which looks a spirit, or a spirit's world--
    The hues of twilight--the Sun's gorgeous coming--
    His setting indescribable, which fills
    My eyes with pleasant tears as I behold                            260
    Him sink, and feel my heart float softly with him
    Along that western paradise of clouds--
    The forest shade, the green bough, the bird's voice--
    The vesper bird's, which seems to sing of love,
    And mingles with the song of Cherubim,
    As the day closes over Eden's walls;--
    All these are nothing, to my eyes and heart,
    Like Adah's face: I turn from earth and heaven
    To gaze on it.

    _Lucifer_.      'Tis fair as frail mortality,
    In the first dawn and bloom of young creation,                     270
    And earliest embraces of earth's parents,
    Can make its offspring; still it is delusion.

    _Cain_. You think so, being not her brother.

    _Lucifer_.                                    Mortal!
    My brotherhood's with those who have no children.

    _Cain_. Then thou canst have no fellowship with us.

    _Lucifer_. It may be that thine own shall be for me.
    But if thou dost possess a beautiful
    Being beyond all beauty in thine eyes,
    Why art thou wretched?

    _Cain_.                Why do I exist?
    Why art _thou_ wretched? why are all things so?                    280
    Ev'n he who made us must be, as the maker
    Of things unhappy! To produce destruction
    Can surely never be the task of joy,
    And yet my sire says he's omnipotent:
    Then why is Evil--he being Good? I asked
    This question of my father; and he said,
    Because this Evil only was the path
    To Good. Strange Good, that must arise from out
    Its deadly opposite. I lately saw
    A lamb stung by a reptile: the poor suckling                       290
    Lay foaming on the earth, beneath the vain
    And piteous bleating of its restless dam;
    My father plucked some herbs, and laid them to
    The wound; and by degrees the helpless wretch
    Resumed its careless life, and rose to drain
    The mother's milk, who o'er it tremulous
    Stood licking its reviving limbs with joy.
    Behold, my son! said Adam, how from Evil
    Springs Good![118]

    _Lucifer_.     What didst thou answer?

    _Cain_.                                Nothing; for
    He is my father: but I thought, that 'twere                        300
    A better portion for the animal
    Never to have been _stung at all_, than to
    Purchase renewal of its little life
    With agonies unutterable, though
    Dispelled by antidotes.

    _Lucifer_.             But as thou saidst
    Of all beloved things thou lovest her
    Who shared thy mother's milk, and giveth hers
    Unto thy children----

    _Cain_.               Most assuredly:
    What should I be without her?

    _Lucifer_.                    What am I?

    _Cain_. Dost thou love nothing?

    _Lucifer_.                      What does thy God love?            310

    _Cain_. All things, my father says; but I confess
    I see it not in their allotment here.

    _Lucifer_. And, therefore, thou canst not see if _I_ love
    Or no--except some vast and general purpose,
    To which particular things must melt like snows.

    _Cain_. Snows! what are they?

    _Lucifer_.                    Be happier in not knowing
    What thy remoter offspring must encounter;
    But bask beneath the clime which knows no winter.

    _Cain_. But dost thou not love something like thyself?

    _Lucifer_. And dost thou love _thyself_?

    _Cain_.                                 Yes, but love more         320
    What makes my feelings more endurable,
    And is more than myself, because I love it!

    _Lucifer_. Thou lovest it, because 'tis beautiful,
    As was the apple in thy mother's eye;
    And when it ceases to be so, thy love
    Will cease, like any other appetite.[119]

    _Cain_. Cease to be beautiful! how can that be?

    _Lucifer_. With time.

    _Cain_.               But time has passed, and hitherto
    Even Adam and my mother both are fair:
    Not fair like Adah and the Seraphim--                              330
    But very fair.

    _Lucifer_.     All that must pass away
    In them and her.

    _Cain_.          I'm sorry for it; but
    Cannot conceive my love for her the less:
    And when her beauty disappears, methinks
    He who creates all beauty will lose more
    Than me in seeing perish such a work.

    _Lucifer_. I pity thee who lovest what must perish.

    _Cain_. And I thee who lov'st nothing.

    _Lucifer_.                             And thy brother--
    Sits he not near thy heart?

    _Cain_.                    Why should he not?

    _Lucifer_. Thy father loves him well--so does thy God.             340

    _Cain_. And so do I.

    _Lucifer_.           'Tis well and meekly done.

    _Cain_. Meekly!

    _Lucifer_.      He is the second born of flesh,
    And is his mother's favourite.

    _Cain_.                        Let him keep
    Her favour, since the Serpent was the first
    To win it.

    _Lucifer_. And his father's?

    _Cain_.                      What is that
    To me? should I not love that which all love?

    _Lucifer_. And the Jehovah--the indulgent Lord,
    And bounteous planter of barred Paradise--
    He, too, looks smilingly on Abel.

    _Cain_.                           I
    Ne'er saw him, and I know not if he smiles.                        350

    _Lucifer_. But you have seen his angels.

    _Cain_.                                  Rarely.

    _Lucifer_.                                       But
    Sufficiently to see they love your brother:
    _His_ sacrifices are acceptable.

    _Cain_. So be they! wherefore speak to me of this?

    _Lucifer_. Because thou hast thought of this ere now.

    _Cain_.                                               And if
    I _have_ thought, why recall a thought that----
      (_he pauses as agitated_)--Spirit!
    _Here_ we are in _thy_ world; speak not of _mine_.
    Thou hast shown me wonders: thou hast shown me those
    Mighty Pre-Adamites who walked the earth
    Of which ours is the wreck: thou hast pointed out                  360
    Myriads of starry worlds, of which our own
    Is the dim and remote companion, in
    Infinity of life: thou hast shown me shadows
    Of that existence with the dreaded name
    Which my sire brought us--Death;[cj] thou hast shown me much
    But not all: show me where Jehovah dwells,
    In his especial Paradise--or _thine_:
    Where is it?

    _Lucifer_.     _Here_, and o'er all space.

    _Cain_.                                    But ye
    Have some allotted dwelling--as all things;
    Clay has its earth, and other worlds their tenants;                370
    All temporary breathing creatures their
    Peculiar element; and things which have
    Long ceased to breathe _our_ breath, have theirs, thou say'st;
    And the Jehovah and thyself have thine--
    Ye do not dwell together?

    _Lucifer_.                No, we reign
    Together; but our dwellings are asunder.

    _Cain_. Would there were only one of ye! perchance
    An unity of purpose might make union
    In elements which seem now jarred in storms.
    How came ye, being Spirits wise and infinite,                      380
    To separate? Are ye not as brethren in
    Your essence--and your nature, and your glory?

    _Lucifer_. Art not thou Abel's brother?

    _Cain_.                                 We are brethren,
    And so we shall remain; but were it not so,
    Is spirit like to flesh? can it fall out--
    Infinity with Immortality?
    Jarring and turning space to misery--
    For what?

    _Lucifer_. To reign.

    _Cain_.              Did ye not tell me that
    Ye are both eternal?

    _Lucifer_.           Yea!

    _Cain_.                  And what I have seen--
    Yon blue immensity, is boundless?

    _Lucifer_.                        Aye.                             390
    _Cain_. And cannot ye both _reign_, then?--is there not
    Enough?--why should ye differ?

    _Lucifer_.                     We _both_ reign.

    _Cain_. But one of you makes evil.

    _Lucifer_.                         Which?

    _Cain_.                                  Thou! for
    If thou canst do man good, why dost thou not?

    _Lucifer_. And why not he who made? _I_ made ye not;
    Ye are _his_ creatures, and not mine.

    _Cain_.                              Then leave us
    _His_ creatures, as thou say'st we are, or show me
    Thy dwelling, or _his_ dwelling.

    _Lucifer_.                      I could show thee
    Both; but the time will come thou shalt see one
    Of them for evermore.[120]

    _Cain_.                And why not now?                            400

    _Lucifer_. Thy human mind hath scarcely grasp to gather
    The little I have shown thee into calm
    And clear thought: and _thou_ wouldst go on aspiring
    To the great double Mysteries! the _two Principles_![121]
    And gaze upon them on their secret thrones!
    Dust! limit thy ambition; for to see
    Either of these would be for thee to perish!

    _Cain_. And let me perish, so I see them!

    _Lucifer_.                                There
    The son of her who snatched the apple spake!
    But thou wouldst only perish, and not see them;                    410
    That sight is for the other state.

    _Cain_.                            Of Death?

    _Lucifer_. That is the prelude.

    _Cain_.                         Then I dread it less,
    Now that I know it leads to something definite.

    _Lucifer_. And now I will convey thee to thy world,
    Where thou shall multiply the race of Adam,
    Eat, drink, toil, tremble, laugh, weep, sleep--and die!

    _Cain_. And to what end have I beheld these things
    Which thou hast shown me?

    _Lucifer_.                Didst thou not require
    Knowledge? And have I not, in what I showed,
    Taught thee to know thyself?

    _Cain_.                      Alas! I seem                          420

    _Lucifer_. And this should be the human sum
    Of knowledge, to know mortal nature's nothingness;
    Bequeath that science to thy children, and
    'Twill spare them many tortures.

    _Cain_.                          Haughty spirit!
    Thou speak'st it proudly; but thyself, though proud,
    Hast a superior.

    _Lucifer_.       No! By heaven, which he
    Holds, and the abyss, and the immensity
    Of worlds and life, which I hold with him--No!
    I have a Victor--true; but no superior.[123]
    Homage he has from all--but none from me:                          430
    I battle it against him, as I battled
    In highest Heaven--through all Eternity,
    And the unfathomable gulfs of Hades,
    And the interminable realms of space,
    And the infinity of endless ages,
    All, all, will I dispute! And world by world,
    And star by star, and universe by universe,
    Shall tremble in the balance, till the great
    Conflict shall cease, if ever it shall cease,
    Which it ne'er shall, till he or I be quenched!                    440
    And what can quench our immortality,
    Or mutual and irrevocable hate?
    He as a conqueror will call the conquered
    _Evil_; but what will be the _Good_ he gives?
    Were I the victor, _his_ works would be deemed
    The only evil ones. And you, ye new
    And scarce-born mortals, what have been his gifts
    To you already, in your little world?

    _Cain_. But few; and some of those but bitter.

    _Lucifer_.                                     Back
    With me, then, to thine earth, and try the rest                    450
    Of his celestial boons to you and yours.
    Evil and Good are things in their own essence,
    And not made good or evil by the Giver;
    But if he gives you good--so call him; if
    Evil springs from _him_, do not name it _mine_,
    Till ye know better its true fount; and judge
    Not by words, though of Spirits, but the fruits
    Of your existence, such as it must be.
    _One good_ gift has the fatal apple given,--
    Your _reason_:--let it not be overswayed                           460
    By tyrannous threats to force you into faith
    'Gainst all external sense and inward feeling:
    Think and endure,--and form an inner world
    In your own bosom--where the outward fails;
    So shall you nearer be the spiritual
    Nature, and war triumphant with your own.
                                                        [_They disappear_.

                                 ACT III.

              SCENE I.--_The Earth, near Eden, as in Act I_.

                         _Enter_ CAIN _and_ ADAH.

    _Adah_. Hush! tread softly, Cain!

    _Cain_.                           I will--but wherefore?

    _Adah_. Our little Enoch sleeps upon yon bed
    Of leaves, beneath the cypress.

    _Cain_.                         Cypress! 'tis
    A gloomy tree, which looks as if it mourned
    O'er what it shadows; wherefore didst thou choose it
    For our child's canopy?

    _Adah_.                 Because its branches
    Shut out the sun like night, and therefore seemed
    Fitting to shadow slumber.

    _Cain_.                    Aye, the last--
    And longest; but no matter--lead me to him.
                                               [_They go up to the child_.
    How lovely he appears! his little cheeks,                           10
    In their pure incarnation,[124] vying with
    The rose leaves strewn beneath them.

    _Adah_.                              And his lips, too,
    How beautifully parted! No; you shall not
    Kiss him, at least not now: he will awake soon--
    His hour of mid-day rest is nearly over;
    But it were pity to disturb him till
    'Tis closed.

    _Cain_.     You have said well; I will contain
    My heart till then. He smiles, and sleeps!--sleep on,
    And smile, thou little, young inheritor
    Of a world scarce less young: sleep on, and smile!                  20
    Thine are the hours and days when both are cheering
    And innocent! _thou_ hast not plucked the fruit--
    Thou know'st not thou art naked! Must the time
    Come thou shalt be amerced for sins unknown,
    Which were not thine nor mine? But now sleep on!
    His cheeks are reddening into deeper smiles,
    And shining lids are trembling o'er his long
    Lashes,[125] dark as the cypress which waves o'er them;
    Half open, from beneath them the clear blue
    Laughs out, although in slumber. He must dream--                    30
    Of what? Of Paradise!--Aye! dream of it,
    My disinherited boy! 'Tis but a dream;
    For never more thyself, thy sons, nor fathers,
    Shall walk in that forbidden place of joy!

    _Adah_. Dear Cain! Nay, do not whisper o'er our son
    Such melancholy yearnings o'er the past:
    Why wilt thou always mourn for Paradise?
    Can we not make another?

    _Cain_.                  Where?

    _Adah_.                        Here, or
    Where'er thou wilt: where'er thou art, I feel not
    The want of this so much regretted Eden.                            40
    Have I not thee--our boy--our sire, and brother,
    And Zillah--our sweet sister, and our Eve,
    To whom we owe so much besides our birth?

    _Cain_. Yes--Death, too, is amongst the debts we owe her.

    _Adah_. Cain! that proud Spirit, who withdrew thee hence,
    Hath saddened thine still deeper. I had hoped
    The promised wonders which thou hast beheld,
    Visions, thou say'st, of past and present worlds,
    Would have composed thy mind into the calm
    Of a contented knowledge; but I see                                 50
    Thy guide hath done thee evil: still I thank him,
    And can forgive him all, that he so soon
    Hath given thee back to us.

    _Cain_.                     So soon?

    _Adah_.                            'Tis scarcely
    Two hours since ye departed: two _long_ hours
    To _me_, but only _hours_ upon the sun.

    _Cain_. And yet I have approached that sun, and seen
    Worlds which he once shone on, and never more
    Shall light; and worlds he never lit: methought
    Years had rolled o'er my absence.

    _Adah_.                           Hardly hours.

    _Cain_. The mind then hath capacity of time,                        60
    And measures it by that which it beholds,
    Pleasing or painful[126]; little or almighty.
    I had beheld the immemorial works
    Of endless beings; skirred extinguished worlds;
    And, gazing on eternity, methought
    I had borrowed more by a few drops of ages
    From its immensity: but now I feel
    My littleness again. Well said the Spirit,
    That I was nothing!

    _Adah_.             Wherefore said he so?
    Jehovah said not that.

    _Cain_.                No: _he_ contents him                        70
    With making us the _nothing_ which we are;
    And after flattering dust with glimpses of
    Eden and Immortality, resolves
    It back to dust again--for what?

    _Adah_.                          Thou know'st--
    Even for our parents' error.

    _Cain_.                      What is that
    To us? they sinned, then _let them_ die!

    _Adah_. Thou hast not spoken well, nor is that thought
    Thy own, but of the Spirit who was with thee.
    Would _I_ could die for them, so _they_ might live!

    _Cain_. Why, so say I--provided that one victim                     80
    Might satiate the Insatiable of life,
    And that our little rosy sleeper there
    Might never taste of death nor human sorrow,
    Nor hand it down to those who spring from him.

    _Adah_. How know we that some such atonement one day
    May not redeem our race?

    _Cain_.                   By sacrificing
    The harmless for the guilty? what atonement[127]
    Were there? why, _we_ are innocent: what have we
    Done, that we must be victims for a deed
    Before our birth, or need have victims to                           90
    Atone for this mysterious, nameless sin--
    If it be such a sin to seek for knowledge?

    _Adah_. Alas! thou sinnest now, my Cain: thy words
    Sound impious in mine ears.

    _Cain_.                     Then leave me!

    _Adah_.                                   Never,
    Though thy God left thee.

    _Cain_.                   Say, what have we here?

    _Adah_. Two altars, which our brother Abel made
    During thine absence, whereupon to offer
    A sacrifice to God on thy return.

    _Cain_. And how knew _he_, that _I_ would be so ready
    With the burnt offerings, which he daily brings                    100
    With a meek brow, whose base humility
    Shows more of fear than worship--as a bribe
    To the Creator?

    _Adah_.         Surely, 'tis well done.

    _Cain_. One altar may suffice; _I_ have no offering.

    _Adah_. The fruits of the earth,[128] the early, beautiful,
    Blossom and bud--and bloom of flowers and fruits--
    These are a goodly offering to the Lord,
    Given with a gentle and a contrite spirit.

    _Cain_. I have toiled, and tilled, and sweaten in the sun,
    According to the curse:--must I do more?                           110
    For what should I be gentle? for a war
    With all the elements ere they will yield
    The bread we eat? For what must I be grateful?
    For being dust, and grovelling in the dust,
    Till I return to dust? If I am nothing--
    For nothing shall I be an hypocrite,
    And seem well-pleased with pain? For what should I
    Be contrite? for my father's sin, already
    Expiate with what we all have undergone,
    And to be more than expiated by                                    120
    The ages prophesied, upon our seed.
    Little deems our young blooming sleeper, there,
    The germs of an eternal misery
    To myriads is within him! better 'twere
    I snatched him in his sleep, and dashed him 'gainst
    The rocks, than let him live to----

    _Adah_.                            Oh, my God!
    Touch not the child--my child! _thy_ child! Oh, Cain!

    _Cain_. Fear not! for all the stars, and all the power
    Which sways them, I would not accost yon infant
    With ruder greeting than a father's kiss.                          130

    _Adah_. Then, why so awful in thy speech?

    _Cain_.                                  I said,
    'Twere better that he ceased to live, than give
    Life to so much of sorrow as he must
    Endure, and, harder still, bequeath; but since
    That saying jars you, let us only say--
    'Twere better that he never had been born.

    _Adah_. Oh, do not say so! Where were then the joys,
    The mother's joys of watching, nourishing,
    And loving him? Soft! he awakes. Sweet Enoch!
                                                 [_She goes to the child_.
    Oh, Cain! look on him; see how full of life,                       140
    Of strength, of bloom, of beauty, and of joy--
    How like to me--how like to thee, when gentle--
    For _then_ we are _all_ alike; is't not so, Cain?
    Mother, and sire, and son, our features are
    Reflected in each other; as they are
    In the clear waters, when _they_ are _gentle_, and
    When _thou_ art _gentle_. Love us, then, my Cain!
    And love thyself for our sakes, for we love thee.
    Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms,
    And opens wide his blue eyes upon thine,                           150
    To hail his father; while his little form
    Flutters as winged with joy. Talk not of pain!
    The childless cherubs well might envy thee
    The pleasures of a parent! Bless him, Cain!
    As yet he hath no words to thank thee, but
    His heart will, and thine own too.

    _Cain_.                            Bless thee, boy!
    If that a mortal blessing may avail thee,
    To save thee from the Serpent's curse!

    _Adah_.                              It shall.
    Surely a father's blessing may avert
    A reptile's subtlety.

    _Cain_.             Of that I doubt;                               160
    But bless him ne'er the less.

    _Adah_.                       Our brother comes.

    _Cain_. Thy brother Abel.

                              _Enter_ ABEL.

    _Abel_.                   Welcome, Cain! My brother,
    The peace of God be on thee!

    _Cain_.                      Abel, hail!

    _Abel_. Our sister tells me that thou hast been wandering,
    In high communion with a Spirit, far
    Beyond our wonted range. Was he of those
    We have seen and spoken with, like to our father?

    _Cain_. No.

    _Abel_.     Why then commune with him? he may be
    A foe to the Most High.

    _Cain_.                 And friend to man.
    Has the Most High been so--if so you term him?                     170

    _Abel_. _Term him!_ your words are strange to-day, my brother.
    My sister Adah, leave us for awhile--
    We mean to sacrifice[129].

    _Adah_.                  Farewell, my Cain;
    But first embrace thy son. May his soft spirit,
    And Abel's pious ministry, recall thee
    To peace and holiness!                 [_Exit_ ADAH, _with her child_.

    _Abel_.                Where hast thou been?

    _Cain_. I know not.

    _Abel_.             Nor what thou hast seen?

    _Cain_.                                     The dead--
    The Immortal--the Unbounded--the Omnipotent--
    The overpowering mysteries of space--
    The innumerable worlds that were and are--                         180
    A whirlwind of such overwhelming things,
    Suns, moons, and earths, upon their loud-voiced spheres
    Singing in thunder round me, as have made me
    Unfit for mortal converse: leave me, Abel.

    _Abel_. Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural light--
    Thy cheek is flushed with an unnatural hue--
    Thy words are fraught with an unnatural sound--
    What may this mean?

    _Cain_.            It means--I pray thee, leave me.

    _Abel_. Not till we have prayed and sacrificed together.

    _Cain_. Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice alone--                       190
    Jehovah loves thee well.

    _Abel_.                  _Both_ well, I hope.

    _Cain_. But thee the better: I care not for that;
    Thou art fitter for his worship than I am;
    Revere him, then--but let it be alone--
    At least, without me.

    _Abel_.               Brother, I should ill
    Deserve the name of our great father's son,
    If, as my elder, I revered thee not,
    And in the worship of our God, called not
    On thee to join me, and precede me in
    Our priesthood--'tis thy place.

    _Cain_.                         But I have ne'er                   200
    Asserted it.

    _Abel_.      The more my grief; I pray thee
    To do so now: thy soul seems labouring in
    Some strong delusion; it will calm thee.

    _Cain_.                                  No;
    Nothing can calm me more. _Calm!_ say I? Never
    Knew I what calm was in the soul, although
    I have seen the elements stilled. My Abel, leave me!
    Or let me leave thee to thy pious purpose.

    _Abel_. Neither; we must perform our task together.
    Spurn me not.

    _Cain_.       If it must be so----well, then,
    What shall I do?

    _Abel_.          Choose one of those two altars.                   210

    _Cain_. Choose for me: they to me are so much turf
    And stone.

    _Abel_.    Choose thou!

    _Cain_.                I have chosen.

    _Abel_.                              'Tis the highest,
    And suits thee, as the elder. Now prepare
    Thine offerings.

    _Cain_.         Where are thine?

    _Abel_.                         Behold them here--
    The firstlings of the flock, and fat thereof--
    A shepherd's humble offering.

    _Cain_.                      I have no flocks;
    I am a tiller of the ground, and must
    Yield what it yieldeth to my toil--its fruit:
                                                     [_He gathers fruits_.
    Behold them in their various bloom and ripeness.
             [_They dress their altars, and kindle aflame upon them_[130].

    _Abel_. My brother, as the elder, offer first                      220
    Thy prayer and thanksgiving with sacrifice.

    _Cain_. No--I am new to this; lead thou the way,
    And I will follow--as I may.

    _Abel_ (_kneeling_).       Oh, God!
    Who made us, and who breathed the breath of life
    Within our nostrils, who hath blessed us,
    And spared, despite our father's sin, to make
    His children all lost, as they might have been,
    Had not thy justice been so tempered with
    The mercy which is thy delight, as to
    Accord a pardon like a Paradise,                                   230
    Compared with our great crimes:--Sole Lord of light!
    Of good, and glory, and eternity!
    Without whom all were evil, and with whom
    Nothing can err, except to some good end
    Of thine omnipotent benevolence!
    Inscrutable, but still to be fulfilled!
    Accept from out thy humble first of shepherds'
    First of the first-born flocks--an offering,
    In itself nothing--as what offering can be
    Aught unto thee?--but yet accept it for                            240
    The thanksgiving of him who spreads it in
    The face of thy high heaven--bowing his own
    Even to the dust, of which he is--in honour
    Of thee, and of thy name, for evermore!

    _Cain_ (_standing erect during this speech_).
    Spirit whate'er or whosoe'er thou art,
    Omnipotent, it may be--and, if good,
    Shown in the exemption of thy deeds from evil;
    Jehovah upon earth! and God in heaven!
    And it may be with other names, because
    Thine attributes seem many, as thy works:--                        250
    If thou must be propitiated with prayers,
    Take them! If thou must be induced with altars,
    And softened with a sacrifice, receive them;
    Two beings here erect them unto thee.
    If thou lov'st blood, the shepherd's shrine, which smokes
    On my right hand, hath shed it for thy service
    In the first of his flock, whose limbs now reek
    In sanguinary incense to thy skies;
    Or, if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
    And milder seasons, which the unstained turf                       260
    I spread them on now offers in the face
    Of the broad sun which ripened them, may seem
    Good to thee--inasmuch as they have not
    Suffered in limb or life--and rather form
    A sample of thy works, than supplication
    To look on ours! If a shrine without victim,
    And altar without gore, may win thy favour,
    Look on it! and for him who dresseth it,
    He is--such as thou mad'st him; and seeks nothing
    Which must be won by kneeling: if he's evil[ck],                   270
    Strike him! thou art omnipotent, and may'st--
    For what can he oppose? If he be good,
    Strike him, or spare him, as thou wilt! since all
    Rests upon thee; and Good and Evil seem
    To have no power themselves, save in thy will--
    And whether that be good or ill I know not,
    Not being omnipotent, nor fit to judge
    Omnipotence--but merely to endure
    Its mandate; which thus far I have endured.

                 [_The fire upon the altar of_ ABEL _kindles into a column
                            of the brightest flame, and ascends to heaven;
                               while a whirlwind throws down the altar of_
                                     CAIN, _and scatters the fruits abroad
                                                     upon the earths_[131]

    _Abel_ (_kneeling_).
    Oh, brother, pray! Jehovah's wroth with thee.                      280

    _Cain_. Why so?

    _Abel_.         Thy fruits are scattered on the earth.

    _Cain_. From earth they came, to earth let them return;
    Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer:
    Thy burnt flesh-offering prospers better; see
    How Heaven licks up the flames, when thick with blood!

    _Abel_. Think not upon my offering's acceptance,
    But make another of thine own--before
    It is too late.

    _Cain_.        I will build no more altars,
    Nor suffer any----

    _Abel_ (_rising_). Cain! what meanest thou?

    _Cain_. To cast down yon vile flatterer of the clouds,             290
    The smoky harbinger of thy dull prayers--
    Thine altar, with its blood of lambs and kids,
    Which fed on milk, to be destroyed in blood.

    _Abel_ (_opposing him_).
    Thou shalt not:--add not impious works to impious
    Words! let that altar stand--'tis hallowed now
    By the immortal pleasure of Jehovah,
    In his acceptance of the victims.

    _Cain_.                         _His_!
    _His pleasure!_ what was his high pleasure in
    The fumes of scorching flesh and smoking blood,
    To the pain of the bleating mothers, which                         300
    Still yearn for their dead offspring? or the pangs
    Of the sad ignorant victims underneath
    Thy pious knife? Give way! this bloody record
    Shall not stand in the sun, to shame creation!

    _Abel_. Brother, give back! thou shalt not touch my altar
    With violence: if that thou wilt adopt it,
    To try another sacrifice, 'tis thine.

    _Cain_. Another sacrifice! Give way, or else
    That sacrifice may be----

    _Abel_.                   What mean'st thou?

    _Cain_.                                     Give--
    Give way!--thy God loves blood!--then look to it:--                310
    Give way, ere he hath _more_!

    _Abel_.                      In _his_ great name,
    I stand between thee and the shrine which hath
    Had his acceptance.

    _Cain_.            If thou lov'st thyself,
    Stand back till I have strewed this turf along
    Its native soil:--else----

    _Abel_ (_opposing him_).   I love God far more
    Than life.

    _Cain_ (_striking him with a brand, on the temples, which
    he snatches from the altar_). Then take thy life unto thy God,
    Since he loves lives.

    _Abel_ (_falls_). What hast thou done--my brother?

    _Cain_. Brother!

    _Abel_.          Oh, God! receive thy servant! and
    Forgive his slayer, for he knew not what
    He did--Cain, give me--give me thy hand; and tell                  320
    Poor Zillah--

    _Cain_ (_after a moment's stupefaction_).
                _My_ hand! 'tis all red, and with----
    What?                          [_A long pause.--Looking slowly round_.
          Where am I? alone! Where's Abel? where
    Cain? Can it be that I am he? My brother,
    Awake!--why liest thou so long on the green earth?
    'Tis not the hour of slumber:--why so pale?
    What hast thou!--thou wert full of life this morn!
    Abel! I pray thee, mock me not! I smote
    Too fiercely, but not fatally. Ah, why
    Wouldst thou oppose me? This is mockery;
    And only done to daunt me:--'twas a blow--                         330
    And but a blow. Stir--stir--nay, only stir!
    Why, so--that's well!--thou breathest! breathe upon me!
    Oh God! Oh God!

    _Abel_ (_very faintly_). What's he who speaks of God?

    _Cain_. Thy murderer.

    _Abel_.               Then may God forgive him! Cain,
    Comfort poor Zillah:--she has but one brother
    Now.                                                     [ABEL _dies_.

    _Cain_. And I none!--Who makes me brotherless?
    His eyes are open! then he is not dead!
    Death is like sleep[132]; and sleep shuts down our lids.
    His lips, too, are apart; why then he breathes;
    And yet I feel it not.--His heart!--his heart!--                   340
    Let me see, doth it beat? methinks----No!--no!
    This is a vision, else I am become
    The native of another and worse world.
    The earth swims round me:--what is this?--'tis wet;
                       [_Puts his hand to his brow, and then looks at it_.
    And yet there are no dews! 'Tis blood--my blood--
    My brother's and my own! and shed by me!
    Then what have I further to do with life,
    Since I have taken life from my own flesh?
    But he can not be dead!--Is silence death?
    No; he will wake; then let me watch by him.                        350
    Life cannot be so slight, as to be quenched
    Thus quickly!--he hath spoken to me since--
    What shall I say to him?--My brother!--No:
    He will not answer to that name; for brethren
    Smite not each other. Yet--yet--speak to me.
    Oh! for a word more of that gentle voice,
    That I may bear to hear my own again!

                             _Enter_ ZILLAH.

    _Zillah_. I heard a heavy sound; what can it be?
    'Tis Cain; and watching by my husband. What
    Dost thou there, brother? Doth he sleep? Oh, Heaven!               360
    What means this paleness, and yon stream?--No, no!
    It is not blood; for who would shed his blood?
    Abel! what's this?--who hath done this? He moves not;
    He breathes not: and his hands drop down from mine
    With stony lifelessness! Ah! cruel Cain!
    Why camest thou not in time to save him from
    This violence? Whatever hath assailed him,
    Thou wert the stronger, and shouldst have stepped in
    Between him and aggression! Father!--Eve!--
    Adah!--come hither! Death is in the world!                         370
                            [_Exit_ ZILLAH, _calling on her Parents, etc._

    _Cain_ (_solus_). And who hath brought him there?--I--who abhor
    The name of Death so deeply, that the thought
    Empoisoned all my life, before I knew
    His aspect--I have led him here, and given
    My brother to his cold and still embrace,
    As if he would not have asserted his
    Inexorable claim without my aid.
    I am awake at last--a dreary dream
    Had maddened me;--but _he_ shall ne'er awake!

                  _Enter_ ADAM, EVE, ADAH, _and_ ZILLAH.

    _Adam_. A voice of woe from Zillah brings me here--                380
    What do I see?--'Tis true!--My son!--my son!
    Woman, behold the Serpent's work, and thine!                [_To_ EVE.

    _Eve_. Oh! speak not of it now: the Serpent's fangs
    Are in my heart! My best beloved, Abel!
    Jehovah! this is punishment beyond
    A mother's sin, to take _him_ from me!

    _Adam_.                                     Who,
    Or what hath done this deed?--speak, Cain, since thou
    Wert present; was it some more hostile angel,
    Who walks not with Jehovah? or some wild
    Brute of the forest?

    _Eve_.               Ah! a livid light                             390
    Breaks through, as from a thunder-cloud! yon brand
    Massy and bloody! snatched from off the altar,
    And black with smoke, and red with----

    _Adam_.                               Speak, my son!
    Speak, and assure us, wretched as we are,
    That we are not more miserable still.

    _Adah_. Speak, Cain! and say it was not _thou_!

    _Eve_.                                          It was!
    I see it now--he hangs his guilty head,
    And covers his ferocious eye with hands

    _Adah_.      Mother, thou dost him wrong--
    Cain! clear thee from this horrible accusal,                       400
    Which grief wrings from our parent.

    _Eve_.                              Hear, Jehovah!
    May the eternal Serpent's curse be on him!
    For he was fitter for his seed than ours.
    May all his days be desolate! May----

    _Adah_.                              Hold!
    Curse him not, mother, for he is thy son--
    Curse him not, mother, for he is my brother,
    And my betrothed.

    _Eve_.           He hath left thee no brother--
    Zillah no husband--me _no son!_ for thus
    I curse him from my sight for evermore!
    All bonds I break between us, as he broke                          410
    That of his nature, _in yon_----Oh Death! Death!
    Why didst thou not take _me_, who first incurred thee?
    Why dost thou not so now?

    _Adam_.                   Eve! let not this,
    Thy natural grief, lead to impiety!
    A heavy doom was long forespoken to us;
    And now that it begins, let it be borne
    In such sort as may show our God, that we
    Are faithful servants to his holy will.

    _Eve_ (_pointing to Cain_).
    _His will!_ the will of yon Incarnate Spirit
    Of Death, whom I have brought upon the earth                       420
    To strew it with the dead. May all the curses
    Of life be on him! and his agonies
    Drive him forth o'er the wilderness, like us
    From Eden, till his children do by him
    As he did by his brother! May the swords
    And wings of fiery Cherubim pursue him
    By day and night--snakes spring up in his path--
    Earth's fruits be ashes in his mouth--the leaves
    On which he lays his head to sleep be strewed
    With scorpions! May his dreams be of his victim!                   430
    His waking a continual dread of Death!
    May the clear rivers turn to blood as he[133]
    Stoops down to stain them with his raging lip!
    May every element shun or change to him!
    May he live in the pangs which others die with!
    And Death itself wax something worse than Death
    To him who first acquainted him with man!
    Hence, fratricide! henceforth that word is _Cain_,
    Through all the coming myriads of mankind,
    Who shall abhor thee, though thou wert their sire!                 440
    May the grass wither from thy feet! the woods
    Deny thee shelter! earth a home! the dust
    A grave! the sun his light! and heaven her God[134]!
                                                              [_Exit_ EVE.

    _Adam_. Cain! get thee forth: we dwell no more together.
    Depart! and leave the dead to me--I am
    Henceforth alone--we never must meet more.

    _Adah_. Oh, part not with him thus, my father: do not
    Add thy deep curse to Eve's upon his head!

    _Adam_. I curse him not: his spirit be his curse.
    Come, Zillah!

    _Zillah_.       I must watch my husband's corse[135].              450

    _Adam_. We will return again, when he is gone
    Who hath provided for us this dread office.
    Come, Zillah!

    _Zillah_.    Yet one kiss on yon pale clay,
    And those lips once so warm--my heart! my heart!
                                    [_Exeunt_ ADAM _and_ ZILLAH _weeping_.

    _Adah_. Cain! thou hast heard, we must go forth. I am ready,
    So shall our children be. I will bear Enoch,
    And you his sister. Ere the sun declines
    Let us depart, nor walk the wilderness
    Under the cloud of night.--Nay, speak to me.
    To _me--thine own_.

    _Cain_.             Leave me!

    _Adah_.                      Why, all have left thee.              460

    _Cain_. And wherefore lingerest thou? Dost thou not fear
    To dwell with one who hath done this?

    _Adah_.                               I fear
    Nothing except to leave thee, much as I
    Shrink from the deed which leaves thee brotherless.
    I must not speak of this--it is between thee
    And the great God.

    _A Voice from within exclaims_. Cain! Cain!

    _Adah_.                    Hear'st thou that voice?

    _The Voice within_. Cain! Cain!

    _Adah_.                        It soundeth like an angel's tone.

                  _Enter the_ ANGEL _of the Lord_.[136]

    _Angel_. Where is thy brother Abel?

    _Cain_.                              Am I then
    My brother's keeper?

    _Angel_.            Cain! what hast thou done?
    The voice of thy slain brother's blood cries out,                  470
    Even from the ground, unto the Lord!--Now art thou
    Cursed from the earth, which opened late her mouth
    To drink thy brother's blood from thy rash hand.
    Henceforth, when thou shalt till the ground, it shall not
    Yield thee her strength; a fugitive shalt thou
    Be from this day, and vagabond on earth!

    _Adah_. This punishment is more than he can bear.
    Behold thou drivest him from the face of earth,
    And from the face of God shall he be hid.
    A fugitive and vagabond on earth,                                  480
    'Twill come to pass, that whoso findeth him
    Shall slay him.

    _Cain_.         Would they could! but who are they
    Shall slay me? Where are these on the lone earth
    As yet unpeopled?

    _Angel_.         Thou hast slain thy brother,
    And who shall warrant thee against thy son?

    _Adah_. Angel of Light! be merciful, nor say
    That this poor aching breast now nourishes
    A murderer in my boy, and of his father.

    _Angel_. Then he would but be what his father is.
    Did not the milk of Eve give nutriment                             490
    To him thou now seest so besmeared with blood?
    The fratricide might well engender parricides.--
    But it shall not be so--the Lord thy God
    And mine commandeth me to set his seal
    On Cain, so that he may go forth in safety.
    Who slayeth Cain, a sevenfold vengeance shall
    Be taken on his head. Come hither!

    _Cain_.                            What
    Wouldst thou with me?

    _Angel_.              To mark upon thy brow[cl]
    Exemption from such deeds as thou hast done.

    _Cain_. No, let me die!

    _Angel_.                It must not be.
                            [_The_ ANGEL _sets the mark on_ CAIN'S _brow_.

    _Cain_.                                It burns                    500
    My brow, but nought to that which is within it!
    Is there more? let me meet it as I may.

    _Angel_. Stern hast thou been and stubborn from the womb,
    As the ground thou must henceforth till; but he
    Thou slew'st was gentle as the flocks he tended.

    _Cain_. After the fall too soon was I begotten;
    Ere yet my mother's mind subsided from
    The Serpent, and my sire still mourned for Eden.
    That which I am, I am; I did not seek
    For life, nor did I make myself; but could I                       510
    With my own death redeem him from the dust--
    And why not so? let him return to day,
    And I lie ghastly! so shall be restored
    By God the life to him he loved; and taken
    From me a being I ne'er loved to bear.

    _Angel_. Who shall heal murder? what is done, is done;
    Go forth! fulfil thy days! and be thy deeds
    Unlike the last!                            [_The_ ANGEL _disappears_.

    _Adah_.          He's gone, let us go forth;
    I hear our little Enoch cry within
    Our bower.

    _Cain_.     Ah! little knows he what he weeps for!                 520
    And I who have shed blood cannot shed tears!
    But the four rivers[137] would not cleanse my soul.
    Think'st thou my boy will bear to look on me?

    _Adah_. If I thought that he would not, I would----

    _Cain_ (_interrupting her_).                        No,
    No more of threats: we have had too many of them:
    Go to our children--I will follow thee.

    _Adah_. I will not leave thee lonely with the dead--
    Let us depart together.

    _Cain_.                Oh! thou dead
    And everlasting witness! whose unsinking
    Blood darkens earth and heaven! what thou _now_ art                530
    I know not! but if _thou_ seest what _I_ am,
    I think thou wilt forgive him, whom his God
    Can ne'er forgive, nor his own soul.--Farewell!
    I must not, dare not touch what I have made thee.
    I, who sprung from the same womb with thee, drained
    The same breast, clasped thee often to my own,
    In fondness brotherly and boyish, I
    Can never meet thee more, nor even dare
    To do that for thee, which thou shouldst have done
    For me--compose thy limbs into their grave--                       540
    The first grave yet dug for mortality.
    But who hath dug that grave? Oh, earth! Oh, earth!
    For all the fruits thou hast rendered to me, I
    Give thee back this.--Now for the wilderness!
                          [ADAH _stoops down and kisses the body of_ ABEL.

    _Adah_. A dreary, and an early doom, my brother,
    Has been thy lot! Of all who mourn for thee,
    I alone must not weep. My office is
    Henceforth to dry up tears, and not to shed them;
    But yet of all who mourn, none mourn like me,
    Not only for thyself, but him who slew thee.                       550
    Now, Cain! I will divide thy burden with thee.

    _Cain_. Eastward from Eden will we take our way;
    'Tis the most desolate, and suits my steps.

    _Adah_. Lead! thou shalt be my guide, and may our God
    Be thine! Now let us carry forth our children.

    _Cain_. And _he_ who lieth there was childless! I
    Have dried the fountain of a gentle race,
    Which might have graced his recent marriage couch,
    And might have tempered this stern blood of mine,
    Uniting with our children Abel's offspring!                        560
    O Abel!

    _Adah_. Peace be with him!

    _Cain_.                    But with _me!_----


[86] {205}[On the 13th December [1821] Sir Walter received a copy of
Cain, as yet unpublished, from Murray, who had been instructed to ask
whether he had any objection to having the "Mystery" dedicated to him.
He replied in these words--

"Edinburgh, _4th December_, 1821.

"My Dear Sir,--I accept, with feelings of great obligation, the
flattering proposal of Lord Byron to prefix my name to the very grand
and tremendous drama of 'Cain.'[*] I may be partial to it, and you will
allow I have cause; but I do not know that his Muse has ever taken so
lofty a flight amid her former soarings. He has certainly matched Milton
on his own ground. Some part of the language is bold, and may shock one
class of readers, whose line will be adopted by others out of
affectation or envy. But then they must condemn the 'Paradise Lost,' if
they have a mind to be consistent. The fiend-like reasoning and bold
blasphemy of the fiend and of his pupil lead exactly to the point which
was to be expected,--the commission of the first murder, and the ruin
and despair of the perpetrator.

"I do not see how any one can accuse the author himself of Manicheism.
The Devil talks the language of that sect, doubtless; because, not being
able to deny the existence of the Good Principle, he endeavours to exalt
himself--the Evil Principle--to a seeming equality with the Good; but
such arguments, in the mouth of such a being, can only be used to
deceive and to betray. Lord Byron might have made this more evident, by
placing in the mouth of Adam, or of some good and protecting spirit, the
reasons which render the existence of moral evil consistent with the
general benevolence of the Deity. The great key to the mystery is,
perhaps, the imperfection of our own faculties, which see and feel
strongly the partial evils which press upon us, but know too little of
the general system of the universe, to be aware how the existence of
these is to be reconciled with the benevolence of the great Creator.

"To drop these speculations, you have much occasion for some mighty
spirit, like Lord Byron, to come down and trouble the waters; for,
excepting 'The John Bull,'[**] you seem stagnating strangely in London.

"Yours, my dear Sir,

"Very truly,


"To John Murray, Esq."-_Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott_, by J.
G. Lockhart, Esq., 1838, iii. 92, 93.

[[*] "However, the praise often given to Byron has been so exaggerated
as to provoke, perhaps, a reaction in which he is unduly disparaged. 'As
various in composition as Shakespeare himself, Lord Byron has embraced,'
says Sir Walter Scott, 'every topic of human life, and sounded every
string on the divine harp, from its slightest to its most powerful and
heart-astounding tones.... In the very grand and tremendous drama of
Cain,' etc.... 'And Lord Byron has done all this,' Scott adds, 'while
managing his pen with the careless and negligent ease of a man of
quality.'"--_Poetry of Byron, chosen and arranged by Matthew Arnold_,
1881, p. xiii.

Scott does not add anything of the kind. The comparison with Shakespeare
was written after Byron's death in May, 1824; the appreciation of Cain
in December, 1821 (_vide supra_); while the allusion to "a man of
quality" is to be found in an article contributed to the _Quarterly
Review_ in 1816!]

[[**] The first number of _John Bull_, "For God, the King, and the
People," was published Sunday, December 17, 1820. Theodore Hook was the
editor, and it is supposed that he owed his appointment to the
intervention of Sir Walter Scott. The _raison d'etre_ of _John Bull_ was
to write up George IV., and to write down Queen Caroline. "The national
movement (in favour of the Queen) was arrested; and George IV. had
mainly _John Bull_ to thank for that result."--_A Sketch_, [by J. G.
Lockhart], 1852, p. 45.]]

[87] {207}["Mysteries," or Mystery Plays, were prior to and distinct
from "Moralities." Byron seems to have had some acquaintance with the
archaeology of the drama, but it is not easy to divine the source or
extent of his knowledge. He may have received and read the Roxburghe
reprint of the _Chester Plays_, published in 1818; but it is most
probable that he had read the pages devoted to mystery plays in
_Warton's History of Poetry_, or that he had met with a version of the
_Ludus Coventriae_ (reprinted by J. O. Halliwell Phillipps, in 1841),
printed in Stevens's continuation of Dugdale's _Monasticon_, 1722, i.
139-153. There is a sixteenth-century edition of _Le Mistere du Viel
Testament_, which was reprinted by the Baron James de Rothschild, in
1878 (see for "De la Mort d'Abel et de la Malediction Cayn," pp.
103-113); but it is improbable that it had come under Byron's notice.
For a quotation from an Italian Mystery Play, _vide post_, p. 264; and
for Spanish "Mystery Plays," see _Teatro Completo de Juan del Encina_,
"Proemio," Madrid, 1893, and _History of Spanish Literature_, by George
Ticknor, 1888, i. 257. For instances of the profanity of Mystery Plays,
see the _Towneley Plays_ ("Mactacio Abel," p. 7), first published by the
Surtees Society in 1836, and republished by the Early English Text
Society, 1897, E.S. No. lxxi.]

[88] {208}[For the contention that "the snake was the snake"--no more
(_vide post_, p. 211), see _La Bible enfin Expliquee_, etc.; _[OE]uvres
Completes de Voltaire_, Paris, 1837, vi. 338, note. "La conversation de
la femme et du serpent n'est point racontee comme une chose surnaturelle
et incroyable, comme un miracle, ou conune une allegorie." See, too,
Bayle (_Hist. and Crit. Dictionary_, 1735, ii. 851, art. "Eve," note A),
who quotes Josephus, Paracelsus, and "some Rabbins," to the effect that
it was an actual serpent which tempted Eve; and compare _Critical
Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures_, by the Rev. Alexander Geddes, LL.D.,
1800, p. 42.]

[89] [Richard Watson (1737-1816), Bishop of Llandaff, 1782, was
appointed Moderator of the Schools in 1762, and Regius Professor of
Divinity October 31, 1771. According to his own story (_Anecdotes of the
Life of Richard Watson_, 1817, p. 39), "I determined to study nothing
but my Bible.... I had no prejudice against, no predilection for, the
Church of England, but a sincere regard for the _Church of Christ_, and
an insuperable objection to every degree of dogmatical intolerance. I
never troubled myself with answering any arguments which the opponents
in the Divinity Schools brought against the articles of the Church, ...
but I used on such occasions to say to them, holding the New Testament
in my hand, '_En sacrum codicem_! Here is the foundation of truth! Why
do you follow the streams derived from it by the sophistry, or polluted
by the passions, of man?'" It may be conceived that Watson's appeal to
"Scripture" was against the sentence of orthodoxy. His authority as "a
school Divine" is on a par with that of the author of _Cain_, or of an
earlier theologian who "quoted Genesis like a very learned clerk"!]

[90] [Byron breaks through his self-imposed canon with regard to the New
Testament. There are allusions to the doctrine of the Atonement, act i.
sc. I, lines 163-166: act iii. sc. I, lines 85-88; to the descent into
Hades, act i. sc. I, lines 541, 542; and to the miraculous walking on
the Sea of Galilee, act ii. se. i, lines 16-20.]

[91] {209}[The words enclosed in brackets are taken from an original
draft of the Preface.]

[92] [The Manichaeans (the disciples of Mani or Manes, third century
A.D.) held that there were two co-eternal Creators--a God of Darkness
who made the body, and a God of Light who was responsible for the
soul--and that it was the aim and function of the good spirit to rescue
the soul, the spiritual part of man, from the possession and grasp of
the body, which had been created by and was in the possession of the
spirit of evil. St. Augustine passed through a stage of Manicheism, and
in after-life exposed and refuted the heretical tenets which he had
advocated, and with which he was familiar. See, for instance, his
account of the Manichaean heresy "de duplici terra, de regno lucis et
regno tenebrarum" (_Opera_, 1700, viii. 484, c; vide ibid., i. 693, 717;
x. 893, d. etc.).]

[93] [Conan the Jester, a character in the Irish ballads, was "a kind of
Thersites, but brave and daring even to rashness. He had made a vow that
he would never take a blow without returning it; and having ...
descended to the infernal regions, he received a cuff from the
arch-fiend, which he instantly returned, using the expression in the
text ('blow for blow')." Sometimes the proverb is worded thus: "'Claw
for claw, and the devil take the shortest nails,' as Conan said to the
devil."--_Waverley Novels_, 1829 (notes to chap. xxii. of _Waverley_),
i. 241, note 1; see, too, ibid., p. 229.]

[94] [The full title of Warburton's book runs thus: _The Divine Legation
of Moses Demonstrated on the Principles of a Religious Deist; from the
omission of the Doctrine of a Future State of Reward and Punishment in
the Jewish Dispensation_. (See, more particularly (ed. 1741), Vol. II.
pt. ii. bk. v. sect. 5, pp. 449-461, and bk. vi. pp. 569-678.) Compare
the following passage from _Dieu et les Hommes_ (_[OE]uvres, etc._, de
Voltaire, 1837, vi. 236, chap. xx.): "Notre Warburton s'est epuise a
ramasser dans son fatras de la Divine legation, toutes les preuves que
l'auteur du _Pentateuque_, n'a jamais parle d'une vie a venir, et il n'a
pas eu grande peine; mais il en tire une plaisante conclusion, et digne
d'un esprit aussi faux que le sien."]

[95] {210}[See _Recherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles_, par M. le B^on^
G. Cuvier, Paris, 1821, i., "Discours Preliminaire," pp. iv., vii; and
for the thesis, "Il n'y a point d'os humaines fossiles," see p. lxiv.;
see, too, Cuvier's _Discours sur les revolutions de la surface du
globe_, ed. 1825, p. 282: "Si l'on peut en juger par les differens
ordres d'animaux dont on y trouve les depouilles, ils avaient peut-etre
subi jusqu' a deux ou trois irruptions de la mer." It is curious to note
that Moore thought that Cuvier's book was "a most desolating one in the
conclusions to which it may lead some minds" (_Life_, p. 554).]

[96] {211}[Alfieri's _Abele_ was included in his _Opere inediti_,
published by the Countess of Albany and the Abbe Calma in 1804.

"In a long Preface ... dated April 25, 1796, Alfieri gives a curious
account of the reasons which induced him to call it ... 'Tramelogedy.'
He says that _Abel_ is neither a tragedy, a comedy, a drama, a
tragi-comedy, nor a Greek tragedy, which last would, he thinks, be
correctly described as melo-tragedy. Opera-tragedy would, in his
opinion, be a fitting name for it; but he prefers interpolating the word
'melo' into the middle of the word 'tragedy,' so as not to spoil the
ending, although by so doing he has cut in two ... the root of the
word--[Greek: tragos]."--_The Tragedies of Vittorio Alfieri_, edited by
E. A. Bowring, C. B., 1876, ii. 472.

There is no resemblance whatever between Byron's _Cain_ and Alfieri's

[97] {216}[Compare--

           " ... his form had not yet lost
    All her original brightness, nor appears
    Less than Arch-angel mind, and the excess
    Of glory obscure."

                                              _Paradise Lost_, i. 591-593.

Compare, too--

                             " ... but his face
    Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
    Sat on his faded cheek."

                                                      Ibid., i., 600-602.]

[98] [According to the Manichaeans, the divinely created and immortal
soul is imprisoned in an alien and evil body. There can be no harmony
between soul and body.]

[99] {218}[Compare--

    "Let him unite above
    Star upon star, moon, Sun;
    And let his God-head toil
    To re-adorn and re-illume his Heaven,
    Since in the end derision
    Shall prove his works and all his efforts vain."

                    _Adam, a Sacred Drama_, by Giovanni Battista Andreini;
                                   Cowper's _Milton_, 1810, iii. 24, sqq.]

[100] {219}[Lines 163-166 ("perhaps" ... "sacrifice"), which appear in
the MS., were omitted from the text in the first and all subsequent
editions. In the edition of 1832, etc. (xiv. 27), they are printed as a
variant in a footnote. The present text follows the MS.]

[101] [According to the _Encyclopaedia Biblica_, the word "Abel"
signifies "shepherd" or "herdman." The Massorites give "breath," or
"vanity," as an equivalent.]


    _A drudging husbandman who offers up_
    _The first fruits of the earth to him who made_
    _That earth_----.--[MS. M. erased.]

[bz] {220}

    _Have stood before thee as I am; but chosen_
    _The serpents charming symbol_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[102] {221}[_Vide ante_, "Preface," p. 208.]

[103] {223}[Compare--

    "If, as thou sayst thine essence be as ours,
    We have replied in telling thee, the thing
    Mortals call Death hath nought to do with us."

                                   _Manfred_, act i. sc. 1, lines 161-163,
                                          _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 90.]

[104] {224}[Dr. Arnold, speaking of _Cain_, used to say, "There is
something to me almost awful in meeting suddenly, in the works of such a
man, so great and solemn a truth as is expressed in that speech of
Lucifer, 'He who bows not to God hath bowed to me'" (Stanley's _Life of
Arnold_, ed. 1887, i. 263, note). It may be awful, but it is not
strange. Byron was seldom at a loss for a text, and must have been
familiar with the words, "He that is not with Me is against Me."
Moreover, he was a man of genius!]

[105] {226}["The most common opinion is that a son and daughter were
born together; and they go so far as to tell us the very name of the
daughters. Cain's twin sister was called Calmana (see, too, _Le Mistere
du Viel Testament_, lines 1883-1936, ed. 1878), or Caimana, or Debora,
or Azzrum; that of Abel was named Delbora or Awina."--Bayle's
_Dictionary_, 1735, ii. 854, art. "Eve," D.]

[106] {227}[It is impossible not to be struck with the resemblance
between many of these passages and others in _Manfred_, _e.g._ act ii. sc.
1, lines 24-28, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 99, note 1.]

[ca] {228} _What can_ he be _who places love in ignorance?_--[MS. M.]

[107] {228}["One of the second order of angels of the Dionysian
hierarchy, reputed to excel specially in knowledge (as the seraphim in
love). See Bacon's _Advancement of Learning_, i. 28: 'The first place is
given to the Angels of loue, which are tearmed Seraphim, the second to
the Angels of light, which are tearmed Cherubim,'"-_N. Eng. Dict._, art.

[cb] {229} _But it was a lie no doubt_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[cc] {230}_What else can be joy?_----.--[MS. M.]

[108] {231}[Compare--"She walks in Beauty like the night." _Hebrew
Melodies_, i. 1, _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 381.]

[109] {232}[Lucifer was evidently indebted to the Manichaeans for his
theory of the _duplex terra_--an infernal as well as a celestial

[110] {233}["According to the prince of the power of the air" (_Eph_.
ii. 2).]

[cd] _An hour, when walking on a petty lake_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[ce] {234}

    _Yon round blue circle swinging in far ether_
    _With an inferior circlet dimmer still_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[111] [Compare--

    "And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
    This pendent World, in bigness as a star
    Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon."

                                           _Paradise Lost_, ii. 1051-1053.

Compare, too--

      "The magic car moved on.
      Earth's distant orb appeared
    The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens;
      Whilst round the chariot's way
      Innumerable systems rolled,
      And countless spheres diffused
      An ever-varying glory."

                     Shelley's _Queen Mab, Poetical Works_, 1829, p. 106.]

[112] {235}["Several of the ancient Fathers, too much prejudiced in
favour of virginity, have pretended that if Man had persevered in
innocence he would not have entered into the carnal commerce of
matrimony, and that the propagation of mankind would have been effected
quite another way." (See St. Augustine, _De Civitate Dei_, xiv. cap.
xxi.; Bayle's _Dictionary_, art. "Eve," 1735, ii. 853, note C.)]

[113] {236}[Compare--

    "Below lay stretched the universe!
    There, far as the remotest line
    That bounds imagination's flight,
      Countless and unending orbs
    In many motions intermingled,
    Yet still fulfilled immutably
      Eternal Nature's laws."

                              Shelley's _Queen Mab_, ii. _ibid._, p. 107.]

[cf] {239} _And with serpents too?_--[MS. M.]

[cg] {240} _Rather than things to be inhabited_.--[MS. M.]

[114] {241}["I have ... supposed Cain to be shown in the _rational_
pre-Adamites, beings endowed with a higher intelligence than man, but
totally unlike him in form, and with much greater strength of mind and
person. You may suppose the small talk which takes place between him and
Lucifer upon these matters is not quite canonical."--Letter to Moore,
September 19, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 368.]

[115] {243}[Compare the "jingle between king and kine," in
_Sardanapalus_, act v. sc. I, lines 483, 484. It is hard to say whether
Byron inserted and then omitted to erase these blemishes from negligence
and indifference, or whether he regarded them as permissible or even

[116] ["_Let_ He." There is no doubt that Byron wrote, or that he should
have written, "Let Him."]

[ch] {246} _And being of all things the sole thing sure_.--[MS. M.]

[ci] _Which seems like water and which I should deem_.--[MS. M.]

[117] {247}[Lucifer's candour and disinterested advice are "after" and
in the manner of Mephistopheles.]

[118] {250}["If you say that God permitted sin to manifest His wisdom,
which shines the more brightly by the disorders which the wickedness of
men produces every day, than it would have done in a state of innocence,
it may be answered that this is to compare the Deity to a father who
should suffer his children to break their legs on purpose to show to all
the city his great art in setting their broken bones; or to a king who
should suffer seditions and factions to increase through all his
kingdom, that he might purchase the glory of quelling them.... This is
that doctrine of a Father of the Church who said, 'Felix culpa quae
talem Redemptorem meruit!'"--Bayle's _Dictionary_, 1737, art.
"Paulicians," note B, 25, iv. 515.]

[119] {251}[Lucifer does not infect Cain with his cynical theories as to
the origin and endurance of love. For the antidote, compare Wordsworth's
sonnet "To a Painter" (No. II), written in 1841--

    "Morn into noon did pass, noon into eve,
    And the old day was welcome as the young,
    As welcome, and as beautiful--in sooth
    More beautiful, as being a thing more holy," etc.

                                                   _Works_, 1889, p. 772.]

[cj] {252} _Which my sire shrinks from--Death_----.--[MS. erased.]

[120] {254}[In Byron's Diary for January 28, 1821, we find the following

"_Thought for a speech of Lucifer, in the Tragedy of Cain_.

    "Were _Death_ an _evil_, would _I_ let thee _live_?
    Fool! live as I live--as thy father lives.
    And thy sons' sons shall live for evermore!"

                                                 _Letters_, 1901, v. 191.]

[121] [Matthew Arnold (_Poetry of Byron_, 1881, p. xxii.) quotes these
lines as an instance of Byron's unknowingness and want of humour. It
cannot be denied that he leaves imbedded in his fabric lumps of unshapen
material, which mar the symmetry of his art. Lucifer's harangue involves
a reference to "hard words ending in _ism_." The _spirit_ of error, not
the Manichaean heresy, should have proceeded out of his lips.]

[122] ["Cain is a proud man: if Lucifer promised him kingdoms, etc., it
would _elate_ him: the object of the Demon is to _depress_ him still
further in his own estimation than he was before, by showing him
infinite things and his own abasement, till he falls into the frame of
mind that leads to the catastrophe, from mere _internal_ irritation,
_not_ premeditation, or envy of Abel (which would have made him
contemptible), but from the rage and fury against the inadequacy of his
state to his conceptions, and which discharges itself rather against
Life, and the author of Life, than the mere living."--Letter to Moore,
November 3, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 470. Here, no doubt, Byron is
speaking _in propria persona_. It was this sense of limitation, of human
nothingness, which provoked an "internal irritation ... a rage and fury
against the inadequacy of his state to his conceptions." His "spirit
beats its mortal bars," not, like Galahad, to be possessed by, but to
possess the Heavenly Vision.]

[123] {255}[Compare--

            "What though the field be lost,
    All is not lost; th' unconquerable will
    And study of revenge, immortal hate,
    And courage never to submit or yield."

                                             _Paradise Lost_, i. 105-108.]

[124] {257}[An obsolete form of _carnation_, the colour of "flesh."]

[125] [Compare--

      "Her dewy eyes are closed,
    And on their lids, whose texture fine
    Scarce hides the dark-blue orbs beneath,
      The baby Sleep is pillowed."

                              Shelley's _Queen Mab_, i., _ibid._, p. 104.]

[126] {258}["Time is our consciousness of the succession of ideas in our
mind.... One man is stretched on the rack during twelve hours, another
sleeps soundly in his bed. The difference of time perceived by these two
persons is immense: one hardly will believe that half an hour has
elapsed, the other could credit that centuries had flown during his
agony."--Shelley's note to the lines--

       " ... the thoughts that rise
    In time-destroying infiniteness."

                                     _Queen Mab_, viii., _ibid._, p. 136.]

[127] {259}[_Vide ante_, p. 208.]

[128] {260}[It is Adah, Cain's wife, who suggests the disastrous
compromise, not a "burnt-offering," but the "fruits of the earth," which
would cost the giver little or nothing--an instance in point of
Lucifer's cynical reminder (_vide ante_, act ii. sc. 2, line 210, p.
247) "that there are some things still which woman may tempt man to."]

[129] {262}["From the beginning" the woman is ineligible for the
priesthood--"He for God only, she for God in him" (_Paradise Lost_, iv.
299). "Let the women keep silence in the churches" (_Corinthians_, i.
xiv. 34).]

[130] {264}[Compare the following passage from _La Rapresentatione di
Abel et di Caino_ (in Firenze l'anno MDLIV.)--

    "Abel parla a dio fatto il sacrifitio,
          Rendendogli laude.
    Signor per cui di tanti bene abondo
    Liquali tu sommamente mi concedi
    Tanto mi piace, et tanto me' giocondo
    Quanto delle mie greggie che tu vedi
    El piu grasso el migliore el piu mondo
    Ti do con lieto core come tu vedi
    Tu vedi la intentione con lequal vegno," etc.]

[ck] {265} _Which must be won with prayers--if he be evil_.--[MS. M.]

[131] {266}[See Gessner's _Death of Abel_.]

[132] {268}[Compare--

    "How wonderful is Death--
    Death and his brother Sleep!"

                                              _Queen Mab_, i. lines 1, 2.]

[133] {271}[Compare--

    "And Water shall hear me,
      And know thee and fly thee;
    And the Winds shall not touch thee
      When they pass by thee....
    And thou shalt seek Death
      To release thee in vain."

                          _The Curse of Kehama_, by R. Southey, Canto II.]

[134] [The last three lines of this terrible denunciation were not in
the original MS. In forwarding them to Murray (September 12, 1821,
_Letters_, 1901, v. 361), to be added to Eve's speech, Byron says,
"There's as pretty a piece of Imprecation for you, when joined to the
lines already sent, as you may wish to meet with in the course of your
business. But don't forget the addition of these three lines, which are
clinchers to Eve's speech."]

[135] [If Byron had read his plays aloud, or been at pains to revise the
proofs, he would hardly have allowed "corse" to remain in such close
proximity to "curse."]

[136] {272}["I have avoided introducing the Deity, as in Scripture
(though Milton does, and not very wisely either); but have adopted his
angel as sent to Cain instead, on purpose to avoid shocking any feelings
on the subject, by falling short of what all uninspired men must fall
short in, viz. giving an adequate notion of the effect of the presence
of Jehovah. The Old Mysteries introduced him liberally enough, and this
is avoided in the New."--Letter to Murray, February 8, 1822, _Letters_,
1901, vi. 13. Byron does not seem to have known that in the older
portions of the Bible "Angel of the Lord" is only a name for the Second
Person of the Trinity.]

[cl] {273} _On thy brow_----.--[MS.]

[137] {274}[The "four rivers" which flowed round Eden, and consequently
the only waters with which Cain was acquainted upon earth.]

                            HEAVEN AND EARTH;

                                A MYSTERY.


           "And it came to pass ... that the sons of God saw
       the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them
                     wives of all which they chose."

                   "And woman wailing for her demon lover."
                                       Coleridge [_Kubla Khan_, line 16]


_Heaven and Earth_ was begun at Ravenna October 9, 1821. "It occupied
about fourteen days" (Medwin's _Conversations_, 1824, p. 231), and was
forwarded to Murray, November 9, 1821. "You will find _it_," wrote Byron
(_Letters_, 1901, v. 474), "_pious_ enough, I trust--at least some of
the Chorus might have been written by Sternhold and Hopkins themselves
for that, and perhaps for the melody." It was on "a scriptural
subject"--"less speculative than _Cain_, and very pious" (_Letters_,
1901, v. 475; vi. 31). It was to be published, he insists, at the same
time, and, if possible, in the same volume with the "others"
(_Sardanapalus_, etc.), and would serve, so he seems to have _reflected_
("The moment he reflects, he is a child," said Goethe), as an antidote
to the audacities, or, as some would have it, the impieties of _Cain_!

He reckoned without his publisher, who understood the temper of the
public and of the Government, and was naturally loth to awaken any more
"reasonable doubts" in the mind of the Chancellor with regard to whether
a "scriptural drama" was irreverent or profane. The new "Mystery" was
revised by Gifford and printed, but withheld from month to month, till,
at length, "the fire kindled," and, on the last day of October, 1821,
Byron instructed John Hunt to "obtain from Mr. Murray _Werner: a Drama_,
and another dramatic poem called _Heaven and Earth_." It was published
in the second number of _The Liberal_ (pp. 165-206), January 1, 1823.

The same subject, the unequal union of angelic lovers with the daughters
of men, had taken Moore's fancy a year before Byron had begun to
"dramatize the Old Testament." He had designed a long poem, but having
discovered that Byron was at work on the same theme, he resolved to
restrict himself to the production of an "episode," to "give himself the
chance of ... an _heliacal rising_," before he was outshone by the
advent of a greater luminary. Thanks to Murray's scruples, and the
"translation" of MSS. to Hunt, the "episode" took the lead of the
"Mystery" by eight days. The _Loves of the Angels_ (see _Memoirs_, etc.,
1853, iv. 28) was published December 23, 1822. None the less, lyric and
drama were destined to run in double harness. Critics found it
convenient to review the two poems in the same article, and were at
pains to draw a series of more or less pointed and pungent comparisons
between the unwilling though not unwitting rivals.

Wilson, in _Blackwood_, writes, "The first [the _Loves, etc._] is all
glitter and point like a piece of Derbyshire spar, and the other is dark
and massy like a block of marble.... Moore writes with a crow-quill, ...
Byron writes with an eagle's plume;" while Jeffrey, in the _Edinburgh_,
likens Moore to "an _aurora borealis_" and Byron to "an eruption of
Mount Vesuvius"!

There is, indeed, apart from the subject, nothing in common between
Moore's tender and alluring lyric and Byron's gloomy and tumultuous
rhapsody, while contrast is to be sought rather in the poets than in
their poems. The _Loves of the Angels_ is the finished composition of an
accomplished designer of Amoretti, one of the best of his kind, _Heaven
and Earth_ is the rough and unpromising sketch thrown off by a great

Both the one and the other have passed out of the ken of readers of
poetry, but, on the whole, the _Loves of the Angels_ has suffered the
greater injustice. It is opined that there may be possibilities in a
half-forgotten work of Byron, but it is taken for granted that nothing
worthy of attention is to be found in Moore. At the time, however, Moore
scored a success, and Byron hardly escaped a failure. It is to be noted
that within a month of publication (January 18, 1823) Moore was at work
upon a revise for a fifth edition--consulting D'Herbelot "for the
project of turning the poor 'Angels' into Turks," and so "getting rid of
that connection with the Scriptures," which, so the Longmans feared,
would "in the long run be a drag on the popularity of the poem"
(_Memoirs, etc._, 1853, iv. 41). It was no wonder that Murray was
"timorous" with regard to Byron and his "scriptural dramas," when the
Longmans started at the shadow of a scriptural allusion.

Byron, in his innocence, had taken for his motto the verse in _Genesis_
(ch. vi. 2), which records the intermarriage of the "sons of God" with
the "daughters of men." In _Heaven and Earth_ the angels _are_ angels,
members, though erring members, of Jehovah's "thundering choir," and the
daughters of men are the descendants of Cain. The question had come up
for debate owing to the recent appearance of a translation of the _Book
of Enoch_ (by Richard Laurence, LL.D., Oxford, 1821); and Moore, by way
of safeguarding himself against any suspicion of theological
irregularity, is careful to assure his readers ("Preface" to _Loves of
the Angels_, 1823, p. viii. and note, pp. 125-127) that the "sons of
God" were the descendants of Seth, and not beings of a supernatural
order, as a mis-translation by the LXX., assisted by Philo and the
"rhapsodical fictions of the _Book of Enoch_" had induced the ignorant
or the profane to suppose. Nothing is so dangerous as innocence, and a
little more of that _empeiria_ of which Goethe accused him, would have
saved Byron from straying from the path of orthodoxy.

It is impossible to say for certain whether Laurence's translation of
the whole of the _Book of Enoch_ had come under Byron's notice before he
planned his new "Mystery," but it is plain that he was, at any rate,
familiar with the well-known fragment, "Concerning the 'Watchers'"
[[Greek: Peri\ ton E)grego/ron]], which is preserved in the
_Chronographia_ of Georgius Syncellus, and was first printed by J. J.
Scaliger in _Thes. temp. Euseb._ in 1606. In the prophecy of the Deluge
to which he alludes (_vide post_, p. 302, note 1), the names of the
delinquent seraphs (Semjaza and Azazel), and of the archangelic monitor
Raphael, are to be found in the fragment. The germ of _Heaven and Earth_
is not in the _Book of Genesis_, but in the _Book of Enoch_.

Medwin, who prints (_Conversations_, 1824, pp. 234-238) what purports to
be the prose sketch of a Second Part of _Heaven and Earth_ (he says that
Byron compared it to Coleridge's promised conclusion of
_Christabel_--"that, and nothing more!"), detects two other strains in
the composition of the "Mystery," an echo of Goethe's Faust and a
"movement" which recalls the _Eumenides_ of AEschylus. Byron told Murray
that his fourth tragedy was "more lyrical and Greek" than he at first
intended, and there is no doubt that with the _Prometheus Vinctus_ he
was familiar, if not at first hand, at least through the medium of
Shelley's rendering. But apart from the "Greek choruses," which "Shelley
made such a fuss about," Byron was acquainted with, and was not
untouched by, the metrical peculiarities of the _Curse of Kehama_, and
might have traced a kinship between his "angels" and Southey's
"Glendoveers," to say nothing of _their_ collaterals, the "glumms" and
"gawreys" of _Peter Wilkins_ (see notes to Southey's _Curse of Kehama_,
Canto VI., _Poetical Works_, 1838, viii. 231-233).

Goethe was interested in _Heaven and Earth_. "He preferred it," says
Crabb Robinson (_Diary_, 1869, ii. 434), "to all the other serious
poems of Byron.... 'A bishop,' he exclaimed, though it sounded almost
like satire, 'might have written it.' Goethe must have been thinking of
a _German_ bishop!" (For his daughter-in-law's translation of the
speeches of Anah and Aholibamah with their seraph-lovers, see
_Goethe-Jahrbuch_, 1899, pp. 18-21 [Letters, 1901, v. Appendix II. p.

_Heaven and Earth_ was reviewed by Jeffrey in the _Edinburgh Review_,
February, 1823, vol. 38, pp. 42-48; by Wilson in _Blackwood's Edinburgh
Magazine_, January, 1823, vol. xiii. pp. 71, 72; and in the _New Monthly
Magazine_, N.S., 1823, vol. 7, pp. 353-358.

                         DRAMATIS PERSONAE.




                         RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.


                         NOAH AND HIS SONS.






         _Chorus of Spirits of the Earth.--Chorus of Mortals_.

                            HEAVEN AND EARTH.

                                 PART I.

          SCENE I.--_A woody and mountainous district near Mount
                        Ararat.--Time, midnight_.

                   _Enter_ ANAH _and_ AHOLIBAMAH.[138]

    _Anah_. OUR father sleeps: it is the hour when they
    Who love us are accustomed to descend
    Through the deep clouds o'er rocky Ararat:--
    How my heart beats!

    _Aho._               Let us proceed upon
    Our invocation.

    _Anah_.         But the stars are hidden.
    I tremble.

    _Aho._     So do I, but not with fear
    Of aught save their delay.

    _Anah_.                    My sister, though
    I love Azaziel more than----oh, too much!
    What was I going to say? my heart grows impious.

    _Aho._ And where is the impiety of loving                           10
    Celestial natures?

    _Anah_.            But, Aholibamah,
    I love our God less since his angel loved me:
    This cannot be of good; and though I know not
    That I do wrong, I feel a thousand fears
    Which are not ominous of right.

    _Aho._                          Then wed thee
    Unto some son of clay, and toil and spin!
    There's Japhet loves thee well, hath loved thee long:
    Marry, and bring forth dust!

    _Anah_.                      I should have loved
    Azaziel not less were he mortal; yet
    I am glad he is not. I cannot outlive him.                          20
    And when I think that his immortal wings
    Will one day hover o'er the sepulchre
    Of the poor child of clay[139] which so adored him,
    As he adores the Highest, death becomes
    Less terrible; but yet I pity him:
    His grief will be of ages, or at least
    Mine would be such for him, were I the Seraph,
    And he the perishable.

    _Aho._                 Rather say,
    That he will single forth some other daughter
    Of earth, and love her as he once loved Anah.                       30

    _Anah_. And if it should be so, and she loved him,
    Better thus than that he should weep for me.

    _Aho._ If I thought thus of Samiasa's love,
    All Seraph as he is, I'd spurn him from me.
    But to our invocation!--'Tis the hour.

                 From thy sphere!
      Whatever star contain thy glory;
        In the eternal depths of heaven
        Albeit thou watchest with "the seven,"[140]                     40
      Though through space infinite and hoary
        Before thy bright wings worlds be driven,
                       Yet hear!
      Oh! think of her who holds thee dear!
        And though she nothing is to thee,
      Yet think that thou art all to her.
        Thou canst not tell,--and never be
        Such pangs decreed to aught save me,--
          The bitterness of tears.
          Eternity is in thine years,                                   50
      Unborn, undying beauty in thine eyes;
      With me thou canst not sympathise,
        Except in love, and there thou must
        Acknowledge that more loving dust
      Ne'er wept beneath the skies.
      Thou walk'st thy many worlds, thou see'st
        The face of him who made thee great,
      As he hath made me of the least
        Of those cast out from Eden's gate:
                  Yet, Seraph dear!                                     60
                      Oh hear!
      For thou hast loved me, and I would not die
        Until I know what I must die in knowing,
      That thou forget'st in thine eternity
        Her whose heart Death could not keep from o'er-flowing
      For thee, immortal essence as thou art!
        Great is their love who love in sin and fear;
      And such, I feel, are waging in my heart
      A war unworthy: to an Adamite
        Forgive, my Seraph! that such thoughts appear,                  70
          For sorrow is our element;
      An Eden kept afar from sight,
          Though sometimes with our visions blent.
                  The hour is near
      Which tells me we are not abandoned quite.--
                   Appear! Appear!
          My own Azaziel! be but here,
      And leave the stars to their own light!                           80

          Thou rulest in the upper air--
          Or warring with the spirits who may dare
                  Dispute with him
        Who made all empires, empire; or recalling
      Some wandering star, which shoots through the abyss,
        Whose tenants dying, while their world is falling,
      Share the dim destiny of clay in this;
        Or joining with the inferior cherubim,                          90
        Thou deignest to partake their hymn--
      I call thee, I await thee, and I love thee.
        Many may worship thee, that will I not:
      If that thy spirit down to mine may move thee,
        Descend and share my lot!
        Though I be formed of clay,
          And thou of beams
        More bright than those of day
          On Eden's streams,                                           100
        Thine immortality can not repay
          With love more warm than mine
        My love. There is a ray
          In me, which, though forbidden yet to shine,
          I feel was lighted at thy God's and thine.
        It may be hidden long: death and decay
          Our mother Eve bequeathed us--but my heart
        Defies it: though this life must pass away,
          Is _that_ a cause for thee and me to part?
        Thou art immortal--so am I: I feel--                           110
          I feel my immortality o'ersweep
        All pains, all tears, all fears, and peal,
          Like the eternal thunders of the deep,
        Into my ears this truth--"Thou liv'st for ever!"
            But if it be in joy
        I know not, nor would know;
      That secret rests with the Almighty giver,
        Who folds in clouds the fonts of bliss and woe.
            But thee and me he never can destroy;
        Change us he may, but not o'erwhelm; we are                    120
        Of as eternal essence, and must war
        With him if he will war with us; with _thee_
          I can share all things, even immortal sorrow;
        For thou hast ventured to share life with _me_,
        And shall _I_ shrink from thine eternity?
          No! though the serpent's sting should pierce me thorough,
        And thou thyself wert like the serpent, coil
          Around me still! and I will smile,
                And curse thee not; but hold
              Thee in as warm a fold                                   130
              As----but descend, and prove
              A mortal's love
      For an immortal. If the skies contain
      More joy than thou canst give and take, remain!

    _Anah_. Sister! sister! I view them winging
    Their bright way through the parted night.

    _Aho._ The clouds from off their pinions flinging,
    As though they bore to-morrow's light.

    _Anah_. But if our father see the sight!

    _Aho._ He would but deem it was the moon                           140
    Rising unto some sorcerer's tune
    An hour too soon.[141]

    _Anah_. They come! _he_ comes!--Azaziel!

    _Aho._                                   Haste
    To meet them! Oh! for wings to bear
    My spirit, while they hover there,
            To Samiasa's breast!

    _Anah_. Lo! they have kindled all the west,
    Like a returning sunset;--lo!
            On Ararat's late secret crest
    A mild and many-coloured bow,                                      150
    The remnant of their flashing path,
    Now shines! and now, behold! it hath
    Returned to night, as rippling foam,
      Which the Leviathan hath lashed
    From his unfathomable home,
    When sporting on the face of the calm deep,
      Subsides soon after he again hath dashed
    Down, down, to where the Ocean's fountains sleep.

    _Aho._ They have touched earth! Samiasa!

    _Anah_.                                 My Azaziel!

                  SCENE II.--_Enter_ IRAD _and_ JAPHET.

    _Irad_. Despond not: wherefore wilt thou wander thus
    To add thy silence to the silent night,
    And lift thy tearful eye unto the stars?
    They cannot aid thee.

    _Japh._               But they soothe me--now
    Perhaps she looks upon them as I look.
    Methinks a being that is beautiful
    Becometh more so as it looks on beauty,
    The eternal beauty of undying things.
    Oh, Anah!

    _Irad_.    But she loves thee not.

    _Japh._                           Alas!

    _Irad_. And proud Aholibamah spurns me also.                        10

    _Japh._ I feel for thee too.

    _Irad_.                      Let her keep her pride,
    Mine hath enabled me to bear her scorn:
    It may be, time too will avenge it.

    _Japh._                            Canst thou
    Find joy in such a thought?

    _Irad_.                     Nor joy nor sorrow.
    I loved her well; I would have loved her better,
    Had love been met with love: as 'tis, I leave her
    To brighter destinies, if so she deems them.

    _Japh._ What destinies?

    _Irad_.                 I have some cause to think
    She loves another.

    _Japh._             Anah!

    _Irad_.                  No; her sister.

    _Japh._ What other?

    _Irad_.             That I know not; but her air,                   20
    If not her words, tells me she loves another.

    _Japh._ Aye, but not Anah: she but loves her God.

    _Irad_. Whate'er she loveth, so she loves thee not,
    What can it profit thee?

    _Japh._                  True, nothing; but
    I love.

    _Irad_. And so did I.

    _Japh._               And now thou lov'st not,
    Or think'st thou lov'st not, art thou happier?

    _Irad_.                                       Yes.

    _Japh._ I pity thee.

    _Irad_.              Me! why?

    _Japh._                      For being happy,
    Deprived of that which makes my misery.

    _Irad_. I take thy taunt as part of thy distemper,
    And would not feel as thou dost for more shekels                    30
    Than all our father's herds would bring, if weighed
    Against the metal of the sons of Cain--[142]
    The yellow dust they try to barter with us,
    As if such useless and discoloured trash,
    The refuse of the earth, could be received
    For milk, and wool, and flesh, and fruits, and all
    Our flocks and wilderness afford.--Go, Japhet,
    Sigh to the stars, as wolves howl to the moon--
    I must back to my rest.

    _Japh._                  And so would I
    If I could rest.

    _Irad_.          Thou wilt not to our tents then?                   40

    _Japh._ No, Irad; I will to the cavern,[143] whose
    Mouth they say opens from the internal world,
    To let the inner spirits of the earth
    Forth when they walk its surface.

    _Irad_.                            Wherefore so?
    What wouldst thou there?

    _Japh._                   Soothe further my sad spirit
    With gloom as sad: it is a hopeless spot,
    And I am hopeless.

    _Irad_.            But 'tis dangerous;
    Strange sounds and sights have peopled it with terrors.
    I must go with thee.

    _Japh._               Irad, no; believe me
    I feel no evil thought, and fear no evil.                           50

    _Irad_. But evil things will be thy foe the more
    As not being of them: turn thy steps aside,
    Or let mine be with thine.

    _Japh._                    No, neither, Irad;
    I must proceed alone.

    _Irad_.                Then peace be with thee!
                                                             [_Exit_ IRAD.

    _Japh._ (_solus_).
    Peace! I have sought it where it should be found,
    In love--with love, too, which perhaps deserved it;
    And, in its stead, a heaviness of heart,
    A weakness of the spirit, listless days,
    And nights inexorable to sweet sleep
    Have come upon me. Peace! what peace? the calm                      60
    Of desolation, and the stillness of
    The untrodden forest, only broken by
    The sweeping tempest through its groaning boughs;
    Such is the sullen or the fitful state
    Of my mind overworn. The Earth's grown wicked,
    And many signs and portents have proclaimed
    A change at hand, and an o'erwhelming doom
    To perishable beings. Oh, my Anah!
    When the dread hour denounced shall open wide
    The fountains of the deep, how mightest thou                        70
    Have lain within this bosom, folded from
    The elements; this bosom, which in vain
    Hath beat for thee, and then will beat more vainly,
    While thine--Oh, God! at least remit to her
    Thy wrath! for she is pure amidst the failing
    As a star in the clouds, which cannot quench,
    Although they obscure it for an hour. My Anah!
    How would I have adored thee, but thou wouldst not;
    And still would I redeem thee--see thee live
    When Ocean is earth's grave, and, unopposed                         80
    By rock or shallow, the Leviathan,
    Lord of the shoreless sea and watery world,
    Shall wonder at his boundlessness of realm.            [_Exit_ JAPHET.

                          _Enter_ NOAH _and_ SHEM.

    _Noah_. Where is thy brother Japhet?

    _Shem_.                              He went forth,
    According to his wont, to meet with Irad,
    He said; but, as I fear, to bend his steps
    Towards Anah's tents, round which he hovers nightly,
    Like a dove round and round its pillaged nest;
    Or else he walks the wild up to the cavern
    Which opens to the heart of Ararat.                                 90

    _Noah_. What doth he there? It is an evil spot
    Upon an earth all evil; for things worse
    Than even wicked men resort there: he
    Still loves this daughter of a fated race,
    Although he could not wed her if she loved him,
    And that she doth not. Oh, the unhappy hearts
    Of men! that one of my blood, knowing well
    The destiny and evil of these days,
    And that the hour approacheth, should indulge
    In such forbidden yearnings! Lead the way;                         100
    He must be sought for!

    _Shem_.                 Go not forward, father:
    I will seek Japhet.

    _Noah_.              Do not fear for me:
    All evil things are powerless on the man
    Selected by Jehovah.--Let us on.

    _Shem_. To the tents of the father of the sisters?

    _Noah_. No; to the cavern of the Caucasus.
                                                [_Exeunt_ NOAH _and_ SHEM.

         SCENE III.--_The mountains.--A cavern,[144] and the rocks
                     of Caucasus_.

    _Japh._ (_solus_). Ye wilds, that look eternal; and thou cave,
    Which seem'st unfathomable; and ye mountains,
    So varied and so terrible in beauty;
    Here, in your rugged majesty of rocks
    And toppling trees that twine their roots with stone[145]
    In perpendicular places, where the foot
    Of man would tremble, could he reach them--yes,
    Ye look eternal! Yet, in a few days,
    Perhaps even hours, ye will be changed, rent, hurled
    Before the mass of waters; and yon cave,                            10
    Which seems to lead into a lower world,
    Shall have its depths searched by the sweeping wave,
    And dolphins gambol in the lion's den!
    And man----Oh, men! my fellow-beings! Who
    Shall weep above your universal grave,
    Save I? Who shall be left to weep? My kinsmen,
    Alas! what am I better than ye are,
    That I must live beyond ye? Where shall be
    The pleasant places where I thought of Anah
    While I had hope? or the more savage haunts,                        20
    Scarce less beloved, where I despaired for her?
    And can it be!--Shall yon exulting peak,
    Whose glittering top is like a distant star,
    Lie low beneath the boiling of the deep?
    No more to have the morning sun break forth,
    And scatter back the mists in floating folds
    From its tremendous brow? no more to have
    Day's broad orb drop behind its head at even,
    Leaving it with a crown of many hues?
    No more to be the beacon of the world,                              30
    For angels to alight on, as the spot
    Nearest the stars? And can those words "_no more_"
    Be meant for thee, for all things, save for us,
    And the predestined creeping things reserved
    By my sire to Jehovah's bidding? May
    _He_ preserve _them_, and I _not_ have the power
    To snatch the loveliest of earth's daughters from
    A doom which even some serpent, with his mate,
    Shall 'scape to save his kind to be prolonged,
    To hiss and sting through some emerging world,                      40
    Reeking and dank from out the slime, whose ooze
    Shall slumber o'er the wreck of this, until
    The salt morass subside into a sphere
    Beneath the sun, and be the monument,
    The sole and undistinguished sepulchre,
    Of yet quick myriads of all life? How much
    Breath will be stilled at once! All beauteous world!
    So young, so marked out for destruction, I
    With a cleft heart look on thee day by day,
    And night by night, thy numbered days and nights.                   50
    I cannot save thee, cannot save even her
    Whose love had made me love thee more; but as
    A portion of thy dust, I cannot think
    Upon thy coming doom without a feeling
    Such as--Oh God! and canst thou--                        [_He pauses_.

                   [_A rushing sound from the cavern is heard, and shouts
                          of laughter--afterwards a Spirit passes_.

    _Japh._                             In the name
    Of the Most High, what art thou?

    _Spirit_ (_laughs_).             Ha! ha! ha![146]

    _Japh._ By all that earth holds holiest, speak!

    _Spirit_ (_laughs_).                           Ha! ha!

    _Japh._ By the approaching deluge! by the earth
    Which will be strangled by the ocean! by
    The deep which will lay open all her fountains!                     60
    The heaven which will convert her clouds to seas,
    And the Omnipotent who makes and crushes!
    Thou unknown, terrible, and indistinct,
    Yet awful Thing of Shadows, speak to me!
    Why dost thou laugh that horrid laugh?

    _Spirit_.                             Why weep'st thou?

    _Japh._ For earth and all her children.

    _Spirit_.                              Ha! ha! ha!
                                                       [_Spirit vanishes_.

    _Japh._ How the fiend mocks the tortures of a world,
    The coming desolation of an orb,
    On which the sun shall rise and warm no life!
    How the earth sleeps! and all that in it is                         70
    Sleep too upon the very eve of death!
    Why should they wake to meet it? What are here,
    Which look like death in life, and speak like things
    Born ere this dying world? They come like clouds!
                                  [_Various Spirits pass from the cavern_.

            The abhorred race
      Which could not keep in Eden their high place,
            But listened to the voice
      Of knowledge without power,
            Are nigh the hour,                                          80
                Of Death!
      Not slow, not single, not by sword, nor sorrow,
        Nor years, nor heart-break, nor Time's sapping motion,
      Shall they drop off. Behold their last to-morrow!
            Earth shall be Ocean!
                And no breath,
      Save of the winds, be on the unbounded wave!
            Angels shall tire their wings, but find no spot:
      Not even a rock from out the liquid grave
            Shall lift its point to save,                               90
      Or show the place where strong Despair hath died,
      After long looking o'er the ocean wide
            For the expected ebb which cometh not:
                All shall be void,
      Another element shall be the lord
        Of life, and the abhorred
      Children of dust be quenched; and of each hue
      Of earth nought left but the unbroken blue;
      And of the variegated mountain                                   100
            Shall nought remain
            Unchanged, or of the level plain;
            Cedar and pine shall lift their tops in vain:
      All merged within the universal fountain,
            Man, earth, and fire, shall die,
                And sea and sky
      Look vast and lifeless in the eternal eye.
                Upon the foam
                    Who shall erect a home?

    _Japh._ (_coming forward_).
                    My sire!                                    110
                Earth's seed shall not expire;
                Only the evil shall be put away
                    From day.
            Avaunt! ye exulting demons of the waste!
      Who howl your hideous joy
      When God destroys whom you dare not destroy:
                Hence! haste!
          Back to your inner caves!
          Until the waves
      Shall search you in your secret place,                           120
            And drive your sullen race
      Forth, to be rolled upon the tossing winds,
          In restless wretchedness along all space!

                Son of the saved!
          When thou and thine have braved
            The wide and warring element;
        When the great barrier of the deep is rent,
      Shall thou and thine be good or happy?--No!
      Thy new world and new race shall be of woe--
        Less goodly in their aspect, in their years                    130
              Less than the glorious giants, who
            Yet walk the world in pride,
      The Sons of Heaven by many a mortal bride.
        Thine shall be nothing of the past, save tears!
              And art thou not ashamed
                  Thus to survive,
              And eat, and drink, and wive?
      With a base heart so far subdued and tamed,
      As even to hear this wide destruction named,
      Without such grief and courage, as should rather                 140
        Bid thee await the world-dissolving wave,
      Than seek a shelter with thy favoured father,
        And build thy city o'er the drowned earth's grave?
              Who would outlive their kind,
              Except the base and blind?
                     Hateth thine
        As of a different order in the sphere,
                    But not our own.
      There is not one who hath not left a throne                      150
        Vacant in heaven to dwell in darkness here,
      Rather than see his mates endure alone.
                    Go, wretch! and give
      A life like thine to other wretches--live!
        And when the annihilating waters roar
                    Above what they have done,
        Envy the giant patriarchs then no more,
      And scorn thy sire as the surviving one!
                    Thyself for being his son!

               _Chorus of Spirits issuing from the cavern_.

                    Rejoice!                                           160
            No more the human voice
            Shall vex our joys in middle air
                  With prayer;
                No more
                Shall they adore;
      And we, who ne'er for ages have adored
              The prayer-exacting Lord,
      To whom the omission of a sacrifice
                   Is vice;
      We, we shall view the deep's salt sources poured                 170
      Until one element shall do the work
            Of all in chaos; until they,
            The creatures proud of their poor clay,
      Shall perish, and their bleached bones shall lurk
            In caves, in dens, in clefts of mountains, where
      The deep shall follow to their latest lair;
            Where even the brutes, in their despair,
      Shall cease to prey on man and on each other,
        And the striped tiger shall lie down to die
      Beside the lamb, as though he were his brother;                  180
                 Till all things shall be as they were,
             Silent and uncreated, save the sky:
                    While a brief truce
             Is made with Death, who shall forbear
           The little remnant of the past creation,
         To generate new nations for his use;
           This remnant, floating o'er the undulation
             Of the subsiding deluge, from its slime,
         When the hot sun hath baked the reeking soil
             Into a world, shall give again to Time                    190
             New beings--years, diseases, sorrow, crime--
         With all companionship of hate and toil,

    _Japh._ (_Interrupting them_).
                        The eternal Will
                Shall deign to expound this dream
                Of good and evil; and redeem
                    Unto himself all times, all things;
                    And, gathered under his almighty wings,
                        Abolish Hell!
                And to the expiated Earth
                Restore the beauty of her birth,                       200
                  Her Eden in an endless paradise,
                Where man no more can fall as once he fell,
                And even the very demons shall do well!

    _Spirits_. And when shall take effect this wondrous spell?

    _Japh._ When the Redeemer cometh; first in pain,
                        And then in glory.

    _Spirit_. Meantime still struggle in the mortal chain,
               Till Earth wax hoary;
      War with yourselves, and Hell, and Heaven, in vain,
               Until the clouds look gory                              210
      With the blood reeking from each battle-plain;
      New times, new climes, new arts, new men; but still,
      The same old tears, old crimes, and oldest ill,
      Shall be amongst your race in different forms;
               But the same moral storms
        Shall oversweep the future, as the waves
        In a few hours the glorious giants' graves[148].

                           _Chorus of Spirits_.

                   Brethren, rejoice!
                   Mortal, farewell!
    Hark! hark! already we can hear the voice                          220
          Of growing Ocean's gloomy swell;
        The winds, too, plume their piercing wings;
        The clouds have nearly filled their springs;
    The fountains of the great deep shall be broken,
      And heaven set wide her windows[149]; while mankind
    View, unacknowledged, each tremendous token--
      Still, as they were from the beginning, blind.
        We hear the sound they cannot hear,
        The mustering thunders of the threatening sphere;
          Yet a few hours their coming is delayed;                     230
        Their flashing banners, folded still on high,
                  Yet undisplayed,
        Save to the Spirit's all-pervading eye.
                  Howl! howl! oh Earth!
    Thy death is nearer than thy recent birth;
    Tremble, ye mountains, soon to shrink below
              The Ocean's overflow!
    The wave shall break upon your cliffs; and shells,
      The little shells, of ocean's least things be
    Deposed where now the eagle's offspring dwells[150]--              240
      How shall he shriek o'er the remorseless sea!
    And call his nestlings up with fruitless yell,
    Unanswered, save by the encroaching swell;--
    While man shall long in vain for his broad wings,
      The wings which could not save:--
    Where could he rest them, while the whole space brings
      Nought to his eye beyond the deep, his grave?
               Brethren, rejoice!
      And loudly lift each superhuman voice--
                     All die,                                          250
      Save the slight remnant of Seth's seed--
               The seed of Seth,
      Exempt for future sorrow's sake from death.
            But of the sons of Cain
               None shall remain;
          And all his goodly daughters
      Must lie beneath the desolating waters;
      Or, floating upward, with their long hair laid
      Along the wave, the cruel heaven upbraid,
               Which would not spare                                   260
             Beings even in death so fair.
                 It is decreed,
                    All die!
        And to the universal human cry
      The universal silence shall succeed!
               Fly, brethren, fly!
               But still rejoice!
                    We fell!
                   They fall!
                     So perish all                                     270
    These petty foes of Heaven who shrink from Hell!
                                [_The Spirits disappear, soaring upwards_.

    _Japh._ (_solus_).
    God hath proclaimed the destiny of earth;
    My father's ark of safety hath announced it;
    The very demons shriek it from their caves;
    The scroll[151] of Enoch prophesied it long
    In silent books, which, in their silence, say
    More to the mind than thunder to the ear:
    And yet men listened not, nor listen; but
    Walk darkling to their doom: which, though so nigh,
    Shakes them no more in their dim disbelief,                        280
    Than their last cries shall shake the Almighty purpose,
    Or deaf obedient Ocean, which fulfils it.
    No sign yet hangs its banner in the air;
    The clouds are few, and of their wonted texture;
    The Sun will rise upon the Earth's last day
    As on the fourth day of creation, when
    God said unto him, "Shine!" and he broke forth
    Into the dawn, which lighted not the yet
    Unformed forefather of mankind--but roused
    Before the human orison the earlier                                290
    Made and far sweeter voices of the birds,
    Which in the open firmament of heaven
    Have wings like angels, and like them salute
    Heaven first each day before the Adamites:
    Their matins now draw nigh--the east is kindling--
    And they will sing! and day will break! Both near,
    So near the awful close! For these must drop
    Their outworn pinions on the deep; and day,
    After the bright course of a few brief morrows,--
    Aye, day will rise; but upon what?--a chaos,                       300
    Which was ere day; and which, renewed, makes Time
    Nothing! for, without life, what are the hours?
    No more to dust than is Eternity
    Unto Jehovah, who created both.
    Without him, even Eternity would be
    A void: without man, Time, as made for man,
    Dies with man, and is swallowed in that deep
    Which has no fountain; as his race will be
    Devoured by that which drowns his infant world.--
    What have we here? Shapes of both earth and air?                   310
    No--_all_ of heaven, they are so beautiful.
    I cannot trace their features; but their forms,
    How lovelily they move along the side
    Of the grey mountain, scattering its mist!
    And after the swart savage spirits, whose
    Infernal immortality poured forth
    Their impious hymn of triumph, they shall be
    Welcome as Eden. It may be they come
    To tell me the reprieve of our young world,
    For which I have so often prayed.--They come!                      320
    Anah! oh, God! and with her----

            _Enter_ SAMIASA, AZAZIEL, ANAH, _and_ AHOLIBAMAH.

    _Anah_.                         Japhet!

    _Sam._                                 Lo!
    A son of Adam!

    _Aza._        What doth the earth-born here,
    While all his race are slumbering?

    _Japh._                           Angel! what
    Dost thou on earth when thou should'st be on high?

    _Aza._ Know'st thou not, or forget'st thou, that a part
    Of our great function is to guard thine earth?

    _Japh._ But all good angels have forsaken earth,
    Which is condemned; nay, even the evil fly
    The approaching chaos. Anah! Anah! my
    In vain, and long, and still to be, beloved!                       330
    Why walk'st thou with this Spirit, in those hours
    When no good Spirit longer lights below?

    _Anah_. Japhet, I cannot answer thee; yet, yet
    Forgive me----

    _Japh._       May the Heaven, which soon no more
    Will pardon, do so! for thou art greatly tempted.

    _Aho._ Back to thy tents, insulting son of Noah!
    We know thee not.

    _Japh._          The hour may come when thou
    May'st know me better; and thy sister know
    Me still the same which I have ever been.

    _Sam._ Son of the patriarch, who hath ever been                    340
    Upright before his God, whate'er thy gifts,
    And thy words seem of sorrow, mixed with wrath,
    How have Azaziel, or myself, brought on thee

    _Japh._ Wrong! the greatest of all wrongs! but, thou
    Say'st well, though she be dust--I did not, could not,
    Deserve her. Farewell, Anah! I have said
    That word so often! but now say it, ne'er
    To be repeated. Angel! or whate'er
    Thou art, or must be soon, hast thou the power
    To save this beautiful--_these_ beautiful                          350
    Children of Cain?

    _Aza._           From what?

    _Japh._                    And is it so,
    That ye too know not? Angels! angels! ye
    Have shared man's sin, and, it may be, now must
    Partake his punishment; or, at the least,
    My sorrow.

    _Sam._ Sorrow! I ne'er thought till now
    To hear an Adamite speak riddles to me.

    _Japh._ And hath not the Most High expounded them?
    Then ye are lost as they are lost.

    _Aho._                            So be it!
    If they love as they are loved, they will not shrink
    More to be mortal, than I would to dare                            360
    An immortality of agonies
    With Samiasa!

    _Anah_.      Sister! sister! speak not

    _Aza._ Fearest thou, my Anah?

    _Anah_.                       Yes, for thee:
    I would resign the greater remnant of
    This little life of mine, before one hour
    Of thine eternity should know a pang.

    _Japh._ It is for _him_, then! for the Seraph thou
    Hast left me! That is nothing, if thou hast not
    Left thy God too! for unions like to these,
    Between a mortal and an immortal, cannot                           370
    Be happy or be hallowed. We are sent
    Upon the earth to toil and die; and they
    Are made to minister on high unto
    The Highest: but if he can _save_ thee, soon
    The hour will come in which celestial aid
    Alone can do so.

    _Anah_.         Ah! he speaks of Death.

    _Sam._ Of death to _us_! and those who are with us!
    But that the man seems full of sorrow, I
    Could smile.

    _Japh._      I grieve not for myself, nor fear.
    I am safe, not for my own deserts, but those                       380
    Of a well-doing sire, who hath been found
    Righteous enough to save his children. Would
    His power was greater of redemption! or
    That by exchanging my own life for hers,
    Who could alone have made mine happy, she,
    The last and loveliest of Cain's race, could share
    The ark which shall receive a remnant of
    The seed of Seth!

    _Aho._            And dost thou think that we,
    With Cain's, the eldest born of Adam's, blood
    Warm in our veins,--strong Cain! who was begotten                  390
    In Paradise[152],--would mingle with Seth's children?
    Seth, the last offspring of old Adam's dotage?
    No, not to save all Earth, were Earth in peril!
    Our race hath always dwelt apart from thine
    From the beginning, and shall do so ever.

    _Japh._ I did not speak to thee, Aholibamah!
    Too much of the forefather whom thou vauntest
    Has come down in that haughty blood which springs
    From him who shed the first, and that a brother's!
    But thou, my Anah! let me call thee mine,                          400
    Albeit thou art not; 'tis a word I cannot
    Part with, although I must from thee. My Anah!
    Thou who dost rather make me dream that Abel
    Had left a daughter, whose pure pious race
    Survived in thee, so much unlike thou art
    The rest of the stem Cainites, save in beauty,
    For all of them are fairest in their favour----

    _Aho._ (_interrupting him_).
    And would'st thou have her like our father's foe
    In mind, in soul? If _I_ partook thy thought,
    And dreamed that aught of _Abel_ was in _her_!--                   410
    Get thee hence, son of Noah; thou makest strife.

    _Japh._ Offspring of Cain, thy father did so!

    _Aho._                                        But
    He slew not Seth: and what hast thou to do
    With other deeds between his God and him?

    _Japh._ Thou speakest well: his God hath judged him, and
    I had not named his deed, but that thyself
    Didst seem to glory in him, nor to shrink
    From what he had done.

    _Aho._                 He was our father's father;
    The eldest born of man, the strongest, bravest,
    And most enduring:--Shall I blush for him                          420
    From whom we had our being? Look upon
    Our race; behold their stature and their beauty,
    Their courage, strength, and length of days----

    _Japh._                                        They are numbered.

    _Aho._ Be it so! but while yet their hours endure,
    I glory in my brethren and our fathers.

    _Japh._ My sire and race but glory in their God,
    Anah! and thou?----

    _Anah_.             Whate'er our God decrees,
    The God of Seth as Cain, I must obey,
    And will endeavour patiently to obey.
    But could I dare to pray in his dread hour                         430
    Of universal vengeance (if such should be),
    It would not be to live, alone exempt
    Of all my house. My sister! oh, my sister!
    What were the world, or other worlds, or all
    The brightest future, without the sweet past--
    Thy love, my father's, all the life, and all
    The things which sprang up with me, like the stars,
    Making my dim existence radiant with
    Soft lights which were not mine? Aholibamah!
    Oh! if there should be mercy--seek it, find it:                    440
    I abhor Death, because that thou must die.

    _Aho._ What, hath this dreamer, with his father's ark,
    The bugbear he hath built to scare the world,
    Shaken _my_ sister? Are _we_ not the loved
    Of Seraphs? and if we were not, must we
    Cling to a son of Noah for our lives?
    Rather than thus----But the enthusiast dreams
    The worst of dreams, the fantasies engendered
    By hopeless love and heated vigils. Who
    Shall shake these solid mountains, this firm earth,                450
    And bid those clouds and waters take a shape
    Distinct from that which we and all our sires
    Have seen them wear on their eternal way?
    Who shall do this?

    _Japh._           He whose one word produced them.

    _Aho._ Who _heard_ that word?

    _Japh._                      The universe, which leaped
    To life before it. Ah! smilest thou still in scorn?
    Turn to thy Seraphs: if they attest it not,
    They are none.

    _Sam._        Aholibamah, own thy God!

    _Aho._ I have ever hailed our Maker, Samiasa,
    As thine, and mine: a God of Love, not Sorrow.                     460

    _Japh._ Alas! what else is Love but Sorrow? Even
    He who made earth in love had soon to grieve
    Above its first and best inhabitants.

    _Aho._ 'Tis said so.

    _Japh._              It is even so.

                         _Enter_ NOAH _and_ SHEM.

    _Noah_.                             Japhet! What
    Dost thou here with these children of the wicked?
    Dread'st thou not to partake their coming doom?

    _Japh._ Father, it cannot be a sin to seek
    To save an earth-born being; and behold,
    These are not of the sinful, since they have
    The fellowship of angels.

    _Noah_.                   These are they, then,                    470
    Who leave the throne of God, to take them wives
    From out the race of Cain; the sons of Heaven,
    Who seek Earth's daughters for their beauty?

    _Aza._                                      Patriarch!
    Thou hast said it.

    _Noah_.            Woe, woe, woe to such communion!
    Has not God made a barrier between Earth
    And Heaven, and limited each, kind to kind?

    _Sam._ Was not man made in high Jehovah's image?
    Did God not love what he had made? And what
    Do we but imitate and emulate
    His love unto created love?

    _Noah_.                    I am                                    480
    But man, and was not made to judge mankind,
    Far less the sons of God; but as our God
    Has deigned to commune with me, and reveal
    _His_ judgments, I reply, that the descent
    Of Seraphs from their everlasting seat
    Unto a perishable and perishing,
    Even on the very _eve_ of _perishing_[153]?--world,
    Cannot be good.

    _Aza._          What! though it were to save?

    _Noah_. Not ye in all your glory can redeem
    What he who made you glorious hath condemned.                      490
    Were your immortal mission safety, 'twould
    Be general, not for two, though beautiful;
    And beautiful they are, but not the less

    _Japh._    Oh, father! say it not.

    _Noah_.                            Son! son!
    If that thou wouldst avoid their doom, forget
    That they exist: they soon shall cease to be,
    While thou shalt be the sire of a new world,
    And better.

    _Japh._     Let me die with _this_, and _them_!

    _Noah_. Thou _shouldst_ for such a thought, but shalt not: he
    Who _can_, redeems thee.

    _Sam._                    And why him and thee,                    500
    More than what he, thy son, prefers to both?

    _Noah_. Ask him who made thee greater than myself
    And mine, but not less subject to his own
    Almightiness. And lo! his mildest and
    Least to be tempted messenger appears!

                  _Enter_ RAPHAEL[154] _the Archangel_.

            Whose seat is near the throne,
                What do ye here?
        Is thus a Seraph's duty to be shown,
               Now that the hour is near                               510
           When Earth must be alone?
                Adore and burn,
      In glorious homage with the elected "Seven."
                Your place is Heaven.

      The first and fairest of the sons of God,
                How long hath this been law,
      That Earth by angels must be left untrod?
                Earth! which oft saw                                   520
      Jehovah's footsteps not disdain her sod!
          The world he loved, and made
          For love; and oft have we obeyed
      His frequent mission with delighted pinions:
          Adoring him in his least works displayed;
      Watching this youngest star of his dominions;
          And, as the latest birth of his great word,
          Eager to keep it worthy of our Lord.
                Why is thy brow severe?
      And wherefore speak'st thou of destruction near?                 530

            Had Samiasa and Azaziel been
        In their true place, with the angelic choir,
                    Written in fire
                  They would have seen
                  Jehovah's late decree,
      And not enquired their Maker's breath of me:
                  But ignorance must ever be
                    A part of sin;
      And even the Spirits' knowledge shall grow less
                  As they wax proud within;                            540
      For Blindness is the first-born of Excess.
        When all good angels left the world, ye stayed,
      Stung with strange passions, and debased
        By mortal feelings for a mortal maid:
      But ye are pardoned thus far, and replaced
      With your pure equals. Hence! away! away!
                     Or stay,
      And lose Eternity by that delay!

            And thou! if Earth be thus forbidden
                    In the decree                                      550
              To us until this moment hidden,
                    Dost thou not err as we
                      In being here?

      I came to call ye back to your fit sphere,
        In the great name and at the word of God,
      Dear, dearest in themselves, and scarce less dear--
        That which I came to do[155]: till now we trod
      Together the eternal space; together
        Let us still walk the stars[156]. True, Earth must die!
      Her race, returned into her womb, must wither,                   560
        And much which she inherits: but oh! why
        Cannot this Earth be made, or be destroyed,
        Without involving ever some vast void
      In the immortal ranks? immortal still
        In their immeasurable forfeiture.
      Our brother Satan fell; his burning will
        Rather than longer worship dared endure!
        But ye who still are pure!
      Seraphs! less mighty than that mightiest one,--
        Think how he was undone!                                       570
      And think if tempting man can compensate
        For Heaven desired too late?
              Long have I warred,
              Long must I war
          With him who deemed it hard
      To be created, and to acknowledge him
      Who midst the cherubim
        Made him as suns to a dependent star,
      Leaving the archangels at his right hand dim.
          I loved him--beautiful he was: oh, Heaven!                   580
      Save _his_ who made, what beauty and what power
      Was ever like to Satan's! Would the hour
          In which he fell could ever be forgiven!
      The wish is impious: but, oh ye!
      Yet undestroyed, be warned! Eternity
        With him, or with his God, is in your choice:
      He hath not tempted you; he cannot tempt
      The angels, from his further snares exempt:
        But man hath listened to his voice,
      And ye to woman's--beautiful she is,                             590
      The serpent's voice less subtle than her kiss.
      The snake but vanquished dust; but she will draw
      A second host from heaven, to break Heaven's law.
                    Yet, yet, oh fly!
                    Ye cannot die;
                    But they
                    Shall pass away,
      While ye shall fill with shrieks the upper sky
          For perishable clay,
      Whose memory in your immortality                                 600
          Shall long outlast the Sun which gave them day.
      Think how your essence differeth from theirs
      In all but suffering! why partake
      The agony to which they must be heirs--
      Born to be ploughed with years, and sown with cares,
        And reaped by Death, lord of the human soil?
      Even had their days been left to toil their path
      Through time to dust, unshortened by God's wrath,
        Still they are Evil's prey, and Sorrow's spoil.

                    Let them fly!                                      610
      I hear the voice which says that all must die,
      Sooner than our white-bearded patriarchs died;
                    And that on high
                  An ocean is prepared,
                    While from below
      The deep shall rise to meet Heaven's overflow--
                  Few shall be spared,
      It seems; and, of that few, the race of Cain
      Must lift their eyes to Adam's God in vain.
                  Sister! since it is so,                              620
                And the eternal Lord
              In vain would be implored
          For the remission of one hour of woe,
      Let us resign even what we have adored,
      And meet the wave, as we would meet the sword,
          If not unmoved, yet undismayed,
      And wailing less for us than those who shall
      Survive in mortal or immortal thrall,
          And, when the fatal waters are allayed,
      Weep for the myriads who can weep no more.                       630
      Fly, Seraphs! to your own eternal shore,
      Where winds nor howl, nor waters roar.
            Our portion is to die,
          And yours to live for ever:
        But which is best, a dead Eternity,
      Or living, is but known to the great Giver.
            Obey him, as we shall obey;
        I would not keep this life of mine in clay
            An hour beyond his will;
      Nor see ye lose a portion of his grace,                          640
      For all the mercy which Seth's race
                  Find still.
        And as your pinions bear ye back to Heaven,
      Think that my love still mounts with thee on high,
      And if I look up with a tearless eye,
        'Tis that an angel's bride disdains to weep,--
        Farewell! Now rise, inexorable deep!

                    And must we die?                                   650
                  And must I lose thee too,
                Oh, my heart! my heart!
                  Thy prophecies were true!
                And yet thou wert so happy too!
        The blow, though not unlocked for, falls as new:
                    But yet depart!
                        Ah! why?
            Yet let me not retain thee--fly!
         My pangs can be but brief; but thine would be                 660
         Eternal, if repulsed from Heaven for me.
             Too much already hast thou deigned
                 To one of Adam's race!
      Our doom is sorrow: not to us alone,
        But to the Spirits who have not disdained
      To love us, cometh anguish with disgrace.
      The first who taught us knowledge hath been hurled
        From his once archangelic throne
        Into some unknown world:
             And thou, Azaziel! No--                                   670
             Thou shall not suffer woe
      For me. Away! nor weep!
        Thou canst not weep; but yet
        May'st suffer more, not weeping: then forget
      Her, whom the surges of the all-strangling deep
      Can bring no pang like this. Fly! fly!
      Being gone, 'twill be less difficult to die.

                Oh say not so!
              Father! and thou, archangel, thou!
        Surely celestial mercy lurks below                             680
      That pure severe serenity of brow:
        Let them not meet this sea without a shore,
        Save in our ark, or let me be no more!

          Peace, child of passion, peace!
      If not within thy heart, yet with thy tongue
          Do God no wrong!
      Live as he wills it--die, when he ordains,
      A righteous death, unlike the seed of Cain's.
        Cease, or be sorrowful in silence; cease
      To weary Heaven's ear with thy selfish plaint.                   690
        Wouldst thou have God commit a sin for thee?
                Such would it be
             To alter his intent
      For a mere mortal sorrow. Be a man!
      And bear what Adam's race must bear, and can.

          Aye, father! but when they are gone,
            And we are all alone,
      Floating upon the azure desert, and
      The depth beneath us hides our own dear land,
        And dearer, silent friends and brethren, all                   700
        Buried in its immeasurable breast,
      Who, who, our tears, our shrieks, shall then command?
        Can we in Desolation's peace have rest?
          Oh God! be thou a God, and spare
            Yet while 'tis time!
          Renew not Adam's fall:
        Mankind were then but twain,
      But they are numerous now as are the waves
            And the tremendous rain,
      Whose drops shall be less thick than would their graves,         710
        Were graves permitted to the seed of Cain.

    _Noah_. Silence, vain boy! each word of thine's a crime.
    Angel! forgive this stripling's fond despair.

    _Raph._ Seraphs! these mortals speak in passion: Ye!
    Who are, or should be, passionless and pure,
    May now return with me.

    _Sam._                  It may not be:
    We have chosen, and will endure.

    _Raph._ Say'st thou?

    _Aza._               He hath said it, and I say, Amen!

          Then from this hour,                                         720
          Shorn as ye are of all celestial power,
      And aliens from your God,

    _Japh._             Alas! where shall they dwell?
    Hark, hark! Deep sounds, and deeper still,
      Are howling from the mountain's bosom:
    There's not a breath of wind upon the hill,
      Yet quivers every leaf, and drops each blossom:
    Earth groans as if beneath a heavy load.

    _Noah_. Hark, hark! the sea-birds cry!                             730
      In clouds they overspread the lurid sky,
    And hover round the mountain, where before
      Never a white wing, wetted by the wave,
          Yet dared to soar,
      Even when the waters waxed too fierce to brave.
          Soon it shall be their only shore,
          And then, no more!

    _Japh._ The sun! the sun[157]!
    He riseth, but his better light is gone;
            And a black circle, bound                                  740
            His glaring disk around,
    Proclaims Earth's last of summer days hath shone!
          The clouds return into the hues of night,
    Save where their brazen-coloured edges streak
    The verge where brighter morns were wont to break.

    _Noah_. And lo! yon flash of light,
    The distant thunder's harbinger, appears!
          It cometh! hence, away!
    Leave to the elements their evil prey!
    Hence to where our all-hallowed ark uprears                        750
              Its safe and wreckless sides!

    _Japh._ Oh, father, stay!
    Leave not my Anah to the swallowing tides!

    _Noah_. Must we not leave all life to such? Begone!

    _Japh._                 Not I.

    _Noah_.                 Then die
                           With them!
    How darest thou look on that prophetic sky,
    And seek to save what all things now condemn,
            In overwhelming unison                                     760
                  With just Jehovah's wrath!

    _Japh._ Can rage and justice join in the same path?

    _Noah_. Blasphemer! darest thou murmur even now!

    _Raph._ Patriarch, be still a father! smooth thy brow:
    Thy son, despite his folly, shall not sink:
    He knows not what he says, yet shall not drink
      With sobs the salt foam of the swelling waters;
    But be, when passion passeth, good as thou,
      Nor perish like Heaven's children with man's daughters.

    _Aho._ The tempest cometh; heaven and earth unite                  770
        For the annihilation of all life.
        Unequal is the strife
    Between our strength and the Eternal Might!

    _Sam._ But ours is with thee; we will bear ye far
      To some untroubled star,
    Where thou, and Anah, shalt partake our lot:
      And if thou dost not weep for thy lost earth,
    Our forfeit Heaven shall also be forgot.

    _Anah_. Oh! my dear father's tents, my place of birth,
    And mountains, land, and woods! when ye are not,                   780
    Who shall dry up my tears?

    _Aza._                    Thy spirit-lord.
    Fear not; though we are shut from Heaven,
    Yet much is ours, whence we can not be driven.

    _Raph._ Rebel! thy words are wicked, as thy deeds
    Shall henceforth be but weak: the flaming sword,
    Which chased the first-born out of Paradise,
    Still flashes in the angelic hands.

    _Aza._ It cannot slay us: threaten dust with death,
    And talk of weapons unto that which bleeds.
    What are thy swords in our immortal eyes?                          790

    _Raph._ The moment cometh to approve thy strength;
              And learn at length
    How vain to war with what thy God commands:
    Thy former force was in thy faith.

                   _Enter Mortals, flying for refuge_.

                           _Chorus of Mortals_.

    The heavens and earth are mingling--God! oh God!
    What have we done? Yet spare!
    Hark! even the forest beasts howl forth their prayer!
      The dragon crawls from out his den,
      To herd, in terror, innocent with men;
    And the birds scream their agony through air.                      800
    Yet, yet, Jehovah! yet withdraw thy rod
    Of wrath, and pity thine own world's despair!
    Hear not man only but all nature plead!

    _Raph._ Farewell, thou earth! ye wretched sons of clay,
    I cannot, must not, aid you. 'Tis decreed!
                                                          [_Exit_ RAPHAEL.

    _Japh._ Some clouds sweep on as vultures for their prey,
    While others, fixed as rocks, await the word
    At which their wrathful vials shall be poured.
    No azure more shall robe the firmament,
      Nor spangled stars be glorious: Death hath risen:                810
    In the Sun's place a pale and ghastly glare
    Hath wound itself around the dying air.

    _Aza._ Come, Anah! quit this chaos-founded prison,
    To which the elements again repair,
    To turn it into what it was: beneath
    The shelter of these wings thou shall be safe,
    As was the eagle's nestling once within
    Its mother's.--Let the coming chaos chafe
    With all its elements! Heed not their din!
    A brighter world than this, where thou shalt breathe               820
    Ethereal life, will we explore:
    These darkened clouds are not the only skies.

                            [AZAZIEL _and_ SAMIASA _fly off, and disappear
                                 with_ ANAH _and_ AHOLIBAMAH.

    _Japh._ They are gone! They have disappeared amidst the roar
    Of the forsaken world; and never more,
    Whether they live, or die with all Earth's life,
    Now near its last, can aught restore
    Anah unto these eyes.

                           _Chorus of Mortals_.

    Oh son of Noah! mercy on thy kind!
    What! wilt thou leave us all--all--_all_ behind?
    While safe amidst the elemental strife,                            830
    Thou sitt'st within thy guarded ark?

    _A Mother_ (_offering her infant to_ JAPHET).
          Oh, let this child embark!
          I brought him forth in woe,
               But thought it joy
       To see him to my bosom clinging so.
               Why was he born?
               What hath he done--
               My unweaned son--
        To move Jehovah's wrath or scorn?
        What is there in this milk of mine, that Death                 840
          Should stir all Heaven and Earth up to destroy
                   My boy,
        And roll the waters o'er his placid breath?
        Save him, thou seed of Seth!
        Or cursed be--with him who made
        Thee and thy race, for which we are betrayed!

    _Japh._ Peace! 'tis no hour for curses, but for prayer!

                           _Chorus of Mortals_.

                    For prayer!!!
                    And where
                Shall prayer ascend,                                   850
    When the swoln clouds unto the mountains bend
                    And burst,
    And gushing oceans every barrier rend,
      Until the very deserts know no thirst?
    Be he who made thee and thy sire!
    We deem our curses vain; we must expire;
            But as we know the worst,
    Why should our hymns be raised, our knees be bent
    Before the implacable Omnipotent,                                  860
    Since we must fall the same?
    If he hath made Earth, let it be his shame,
      To make a world for torture.--Lo! they come,
    The loathsome waters, in their rage!
      And with their roar make wholesome nature dumb!
      The forest's trees (coeval with the hour
    When Paradise upsprung,
      Ere Eve gave Adam knowledge for her dower,
    Or Adam his first hymn of slavery sung),
      So massy, vast, yet green in their old age,                      870
              Are overtopped,
    Their summer blossoms by the surges lopped,
    Which rise, and rise, and rise.
    Vainly we look up to the lowering skies--
      They meet the seas,
    And shut out God from our beseeching eyes.
      Fly, son of Noah, fly! and take thine ease,
    In thine allotted ocean-tent;
    And view, all floating o'er the element,
    The corpses of the world of thy young days:                        880
            Then to Jehovah raise
            Thy song of praise!

    _A Mortal_.
                Blessed are the dead
                Who die in the Lord!
    And though the waters be o'er earth outspread,
                Yet, as _his_ word,
                Be the decree adored!
    He gave me life--he taketh but
      The breath which is his own:
    And though these eyes should be for ever shut,                     890
      Nor longer this weak voice before his throne
      Be heard in supplicating tone,
              Still blessed be the Lord,
                For what is past,
                For that which is:
                For all are his,
                From first to last--
      The vast known and immeasurable unknown.
    He made, and can unmake;                                           900
      And shall I, for a little gasp of breath,
    Blaspheme and groan?
      No; let me die, as I have lived, in faith,
    Nor quiver, though the Universe may quake!

                           _Chorus of Mortals_.

                Where shall we fly?
                Not to the mountains high;
    For now their torrents rush, with double roar,
      To meet the Ocean, which, advancing still,
      Already grasps each drowning hill,
    Nor leaves an unsearched cave.                                     910

                             _Enter a Woman_.

          Oh, save me, save!
    Our valley is no more:
      My father and my father's tent,
    My brethren and my brethren's herds,
      The pleasant trees that o'er our noonday bent,
    And sent forth evening songs from sweetest birds,
    The little rivulet which freshened all
          Our pastures green,
          No more are to be seen.
    When to the mountain cliff I climbed this morn,                    920
      I turned to bless the spot,
      And not a leaf appeared about to fall;--
      And now they are not!--
    Why was I born?

                  To die! in youth to die!
        And happier in that doom,
        Than to behold the universal tomb,
                  Which I
        Am thus condemned to weep above in vain.
        Why, when all perish, why must I remain?

                    [_The waters rise; Men fly in every direction; many
                        are overtaken by the waves: the Chorus of
                        Mortals disperses in search of safety up the
                        mountains:_ JAPHET _remains upon a rock, while
                        the Ark floats towards him in the distance_.[158]


[138] {285}[Aholibamah ("tent of the highest") was daughter of Anah (a
Hivite clan-name), the daughter of Zibeon, Esau's wife, Gen. xxxvi. 14.
Irad was the son of Enoch, and grandson of Cain, Gen. iv. 18.]

[139] {286}[Compare _Manfred_, act i. sc. I, line 131, _Poetical Works_,
1901, iv. 89, and note i.]

[140] The archangels, said to be seven in number, and to occupy the
eighth rank in the celestial hierarchy.

[Compare _Tobit_ xii. 15, "I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels
which present the prayers of the saints." _The Book of Enoch_ (ch. xx.)
names the other archangels, "Uriel, Rufael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael,
and Gabriel, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the cherubin." In
the _Celestial Hierarchy_ of Dionysius the Areopagite, a chapter is
devoted to archangels, but their names are not recorded, or their number
given. On the other hand, "The teaching of the oracles concerning the
angels affirms that they are thousand thousands and myriad
myriads."--_Celestial Hierarchy, etc._, translated by the Rev. J.
Parker, 1894, cap. xiv. p. 43. It has been supposed that "the seven
which are the eyes of the Lord" (_Zech._ iv. 10) are the seven

[141] {289}["The adepts of Incantation ... enter the realms of air, and
by their spells they scatter the clouds, they gather the clouds, they
still the storm.... We may adduce Ovid (_Amor._, bk. ii., El., i. 23),
who says, 'Charmers draw down the horns of the blood-red moon,'... Here
it is to be observed that in the opinion of simple-minded persons, the
moon could be actually drawn down from heaven. So Aristophanes says
(_Clouds_, lines 739, 740), 'If I should purchase a Thessalian witch,
and draw down the moon by night;' and Claudian (_In Ruffin._, bk. i.
145), 'I know by what spell the Thessalian sorceress snatches away the
lunar beam.'"--_Magic Incantations_, by Christianus Pazig (circ. 1700),
edited by Edmund Goldsmid, F.R.H.S., F.S.A. (Scot.), 1886, pp. 30, 31.
See, too, Virgil, _Eclogues_, viii. 69, "Carmina vel c[oe]lo possunt de
ducere Lunam."]

[142] {291}["Tubal-Cain [the seventh in descent from Cain] was an
instructor of every artificer of brass and iron" (_Gen._ iv. 22).
According to the _Book of Enoch_, cap. viii., it was "Azazel," one of
the "sons of the heavens," who "taught men to make swords, and knives,
and skins, and coats of mail, and made known to them metals, and the art
of working them, bracelets and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and
the beautifying of the eyebrows, and the most costly and choicest
stones, and all colouring tincture, so that the world was changed."]

[143] [_Vide post_, p. 294.]

[144] {294}[Byron's knowledge of Mount Ararat was probably derived from
the following passage in Tournefort: "It is a most frightful sight;
David might well say such sort of places show the grandeur of the Lord.
One can't but tremble to behold it; and to look on the horrible
precipices ever so little will make the head turn round. The noise made
by a vast number of crows [hence the 'rushing sound,' _vide post_, p.
295], who are continually flying from one side to the other, has
something in it very frightful. To form any idea of this place you must
imagine one of the highest mountains in the world opening its bosom,
only to show the most horrible spectacle that can be thought of. All the
precipices are perpendicular, and the extremities are rough and
blackish, as if a smoke came out of the sides and smutted them."--_A
Voyage in the Levant_, by M. [Joseph Pitton de] Tournefort, 1741, iii.
205, 206.

Kitto also describes this "vast chasm," which contained "an enormous
mass of ice, which seems to have fallen from a cliff that overhangs the
ice" (_Travels in Persia_, 1846, i. 34); but Professor Friedrich Parrot,
who was the first to ascend Mount Ararat, does not enlarge upon the
"abyss" or chasm.--_Journey to Ararat_, translated by W. D. Cowley,
1845, p. 134.]

[145] [Compare the description of the "roots like snakes," which "wind
out from rock and sand," in the scene on the Hartz Mountains in Goethe's

[146] {296} [Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 233) compares the
laughter of the fiends in the cave of Caucasus with the snoring of the
Furies in the _Eumenides_ of AEschylus--

    [Greek: R(e/gkousi d' ou) platoi~si physia/masin] (line 53).
    ("Their snoring nostrils blow fearsome breath.")

There is a closer parallel with--

    [Greek: Gela~ de\ dai/mon e)p' a)ndri\ thermo~] (line 560).
    ("The spirit mocketh the headlong soul.")]

[147] {297}[Matthew Arnold, _Poetry of Byron_, 1881, xiv., xv., quotes
this line in proof of Byron's barbarian insensibility, "to the true
artist's fine passion for the correct use and consummate management of

[148] {300} "[And] there were giants in the earth in those days; and ...
after, ... mighty men, which were of old, men of renown."--_Genesis_
[vi. 4].

[149] "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up,
and the windows of heaven were opened."--_Genesis_ [vii. II].

[150] {301}[Byron falls in with the popular theory as to the existence
of fossil remains of marine animals at a height above the level of the
sea. The "deluge" accounted for what was otherwise inexplicable.]

[151] {302} The book of Enoch, preserved by the Ethiopians, is said by
them to be anterior to the flood.

[Some fragments of the _Book of Enoch_ (_vide ante_, Introduction to
_Heaven and Earth_, p. 281), which were included by Georgius Syncellus
(a Byzantine writer of the eighth century A.D.) in his _Chronographia_,
pp. ii, 26 (_Corpus Script. Hist. Byzantintae_, 1829, i. 20), were
printed by J. J. Scaliger in 1606. They were, afterwards, included (i.
347-354) in the _Spicilegium SS. Patrum_ of Joannes Ernestus Grabius,
which was published at Oxford in 1714. A year after (1715) one of the
fragments was "made English," and published under the title of _The
History of the Angels and their Gallantry with the Daughters of Men_,
written by Enoch the Patriarch.

In 1785 James Bruce, the traveller, discovered three MSS. of the _Book
of Enoch_. One he conveyed to the library at Paris: a second MS. he
presented to the Bodleian Library at Oxford (_Travels_, ii. 422, 8vo ed.
1805). In 1801 an article entitled, "Notice du Libre d'Enoch," was
contributed by Silvestre de Sacy to the _Magasin Encyclopedique_ (An.
vi. tom. i. p. 369); and in 1821 Richard Laurence, LL.D., published a
translation "from the Ethiopic MS. in the Bodleian Library." This was
the first translation of the book as a whole.

The following extracts, which were evidently within Byron's recollection
when he planned _Heaven and Earth_, are taken from _The Book of Enoch_,
translated from Professor Dillman's Ethiopic Text, by R. H. Charles,
Oxford, 1892:--

"Chap. vi. [1. And it came to pass when the children of men had
multiplied in those days that beautiful and comely daughters were born
unto them. [2. And the angels, the sons of the Heavens, saw and lusted
after them, and spake one to another, 'Come now, let us choose us wives
from among the children of men, and beget children.' [3. And Semjaza,
who was the leader, spake unto them: I fear ye will not indeed agree to
do this deed.... [6. And they descended in the days of Jared on the
summit of Mount Hermon....

"Chap. viii. [i. And Azazel taught men to make swords, etc.

"Chap. x. Then spake the Most High, the Great, the Holy One, and sent
Arsjalaljur (= Uriel) to the son of Lamech, and said to him, 'Tell him
in My Name to hide thyself!' and reveal to him that the end is
approaching; for the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge will
presently cover up the whole earth, and all that is in it will be
destroyed. [3. And now instruct him that he may escape, as his seed may
be preserved for all generations. [4. And again the Lord spake to
Rafael; Bind Azazel hand and foot, and place him in darkness; make an
opening in the desert which is in Dudael and place him therein. [5. And
place upon him rough and ragged rocks," etc.]

[152] {306}[This does not correspond with Cain's statement--"After the
fall too soon was I begotten," _Cain_, act. iii. sc. I, line 506 (_vide

Bayle (_Hist. and Crit. Dict._, 1735, art. "Eve," note B) has a great
deal to say with regard to the exact date of the birth of Cain. He
concludes with _Cornelius a Lapide_, who quotes Torniellus, "Cain
genitum ease mox post expulsionem Adae et Evae ex Paradiso."]

[153] {309}[Byron said that it was difficult to make Lucifer talk "like
a clergyman." He contrived to make Noah talk like a street-preacher.]

[154] [In the original MS. "Michael."--"I return you," says Byron, "the
revise. I have softened the part to which Gifford objected, and changed
the name of Michael to Raphael, who was an angel of gentler
sympathies."--July 6, 1822, _Letters_, vi. 93.]

[155] {311}[That is, "to call you back." His ministry and function of
clemency were almost as dear to him as his ministry and function of
adoration and obedience.]

[156] [For the connection of stars with angels, see _Book of Enoch_,
xxv. 1.]

[157] {315}[Compare _Darkness_, lines 2-5, _Poetical Works_, 1891, iv.
42, 43.]

[158] {321}[Sketch of Second Part of _Heaven and Earth_, as reported by
Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, pp. 234-237)--

"Azazael and Samiasa ... rise into the air with the two sisters.... The
appearance of the land strangled by the ocean will serve by way of
scenery and decorations. The affectionate tenderness of Adah for those
from whom she is parted, and for ever, and her fears contrasting with
the loftier spirit of Aholibamah triumphing in the hopes of a new and
greater destiny will make the dialogue. They, in the meantime, continue
their aerial voyage, everywhere denied admittance in those floating
islands over the sea of space, and driven back by guardian-spirits of
the different planets, till they are at length forced to alight on the
only peak of the earth uncovered by water. Here a parting takes place
between the lovers.... The fallen angels are suddenly called, and
condemned, their destination and punishment unknown. The sisters cling
to the rock, the waters mounting higher and higher. Now enter Ark. The
scene draws up, and discovers Japhet endeavouring to persuade the
Patriarch, with very strong arguments of love and pity, to receive the
sisters, or at least Adah, on board. Adah joins in his entreaties, and
endeavours to cling to the sides of the vessel. The proud and haughty
Aholibamah scorns to pray either to God or man, and anticipates the
grave by plunging into the waters. Noah is still inexorable. [Adah] is
momentarily in danger of perishing before the eyes of the Arkites.
Japhet is in despair. The last wave sweeps her from the rock, and her
lifeless corpse floats past in all its beauty, whilst a sea-bird screams
over it, and seems to be the spirit of her angel lord. I once thought of
conveying the lovers to the moon or one of the planets; but it is not
easy for the imagination to make any unknown world more beautiful than
this; besides, I did not think they would approve of the moon as a
residence. I remember what Fontenelle said of its having no atmosphere,
and the dark spots having caverns where the inhabitants reside. There
was another objection: all the human interest would have been destroyed,
which I have even endeavoured to give my angels."]



                             THE INHERITANCE:

                                 A TRAGEDY.

[_Werner_ was produced, for the first time, at the Park Theatre, New
York, in 1826. Mr. Barry played "Werner."

_Werner_ was brought out at Drury Lane Theatre, and played, for the
first time, December 15, 1830. Macready appeared as "Werner," J. W.
Wallack as "Ulric," Mrs. Faucit as "Josephine," and Miss Mordaunt as
"Ida." According to the _Times_, December 16, 1830, "Mr. Macready
appeared to very great advantage. We have never seen him exert himself
more--we have never known him to exert himself with more powerful
effect. Three of his scenes were masterpieces." Genest says that
_Werner_ was acted seventeen times in 1830-31.

There was a revival in 1833. Macready says (_Diary_, March 20) that he
acted "'Werner' with unusual force, truth, and collectedness ...
finished off each burst of passion, and, in consequence, entered on the
following emotion with clearness and earnestness" (Macready's
_Reminiscences_, 1875, i 36.6).

_Werner_ was played in 1834, 5, 6, 7, 9; in 1841; in 1843-4 (New York,
Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Montreal); in 1845 (Paris,
London, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin); in 1846, 1847; in America in 1848; in
the provinces in 1849; in 1850; and, for the last time, at the Theatre
Royal, Haymarket, January 14, 1851. At the farewell performance Macready
appeared as "Werner," Mr. Davenport as "Ulric," Mrs. Warner as
"Josephine," Mrs. Ryder as "Ida." In the same year (1851) a portrait of
Macready as "Werner," by Daniel Maclise, R.A., was on view at the
Exhibition at the Royal Academy. The motto was taken from _Werner_, act
i. sc. 1, lines 114, _sq._ (See, for a detailed criticism of Macready's
"Werner," _Our Recent Actors_, by Westland Marston, 1881, i. 89-98; and
for the famous "Macready _burst_," in act ii. sc. 2, and act v. sc. 1,
_vide ibid._, i. 97.)

_Werner_ was brought out at Sadler's Wells Theatre, November 21, 1860,
and repeated November 22, 23, 24, 28, 29; December, 3, 4, 11, 13, 14,
1860. Phelps appeared as "Werner," Mr. Edmund Phelps as "Ulric," Miss
Atkinson as "Josephine." "Perhaps the old actor never performed the part
so finely as he did on that night. The identity between the real and
ideal relations of the characters was as vivid to him as to the
audience, and gave a deeper intensity, on both sides, to the scenes
between father and son." (See _The London Stage_, by H. Barton Baker,
1889, ii. 217.)

On the afternoon of June 1, 1887, _Werner_ (four acts, arranged by Frank
Marshall) was performed at the Lyceum Theatre for the benefit of
Westland Marston. [Sir] Henry Irving appeared as "Werner," Miss Ellen
Terry as "Josephine," Mr. Alexander as "Ulric." (See for an appreciation
of Sir Henry Irving's presentation of _Werner_, the _Athenaeum_, June 4,

                        INTRODUCTION TO _WERNER_.

_Werner; or, The Inheritance_, was begun at Pisa, December 18, 1821, and
finished January 20, 1822. At the end of the month, January 29, Byron
despatched the MS., not to Murray, but to Moore, then in retreat at
Paris, intending, no doubt, that it should be placed in the hands of
another publisher; but a letter from Murray "melted him," and on March
6, 1822 (_Letters_, 1901, vi. 34), he desired Moore to forward the
packet to Albemarle Street. The play was set up in type, and revised
proofs were returned to Murray at the end of June; but, for various
reasons, publication was withheld, and, on October 31, Byron informed
John Hunt that he had empowered his friend Douglas Kinnaird to obtain
_Werner_, with other MSS., from Murray. None the less, milder counsels
again prevailed, and on Saturday, November 23, 1822, _Werner_ was
published, not in the same volume with _Heaven and Earth_, as Byron
intended and expected, nor by John Hunt, as he had threatened, but by
itself, and, as heretofore, by John Murray. _Werner_ was "the last of
all the flock" to issue from Murray's fold.

In his Preface to _Werner_ (_vide post_, p. 337) Byron disclaims all
pretensions to originality. "The following drama," he writes, "is taken
entirely from the 'German's Tale, Kruitzner,' published ... in Lee's
_Canterbury Tales_.... I have adopted the characters, plan, and even the
language, of many parts of this story." _Kruitzner_ seems to have made a
deep impression on his mind. When he was a boy of thirteen (_i.e._ in
1801, when the fourth volume of the _Canterbury Tales_ was published),
and again in 1815, he set himself to turn the tale into a drama. His
first attempt, named _Ulric and Ilvina_, he threw into the fire, but he
had nearly completed the first act of his second and maturer adaptation
when he was "interrupted by circumstances," that is, no doubt, the
circumstances which led up to and ended in the separation from his
wife. (See letter of October 9, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 391.)

On his leaving England for the Continent, April 25, 1816, the fragment
was left behind. Most probably the MS. fell into his sister's hands, for
in October, 1821, it was not forthcoming when Byron gave directions that
Hobhouse should search for it "amongst my papers." Ultimately it came
into the possession of the late Mr. Murray, and is now printed for the
first time in its entirety (_vide post_, pp. 453-466: selections were
given in the _Nineteenth Century_, August, 1899). It should be borne in
mind that this unprinted first act of _Werner_, which synchronizes with
the _Siege of Corinth_ and _Parisina_, was written when Byron was a
member of the sub-committee of management of Drury Lane Theatre, and, as
the numerous stage directions testify, with a view to
stage-representation. The MS. is scored with corrections, and betrays an
unusual elaboration, and, perhaps, some difficulty and hesitation in the
choice of words and the construction of sentences. In the opening scene
the situation is not caught and gripped, while the melancholy squalor of
the original narrative is only too faithfully reproduced. The _Werner_
of 1821, with all its shortcomings, is the production of a playwright.
The _Werner_ of 1815 is the attempt of a highly gifted amateur.

When Byron once more bethought himself of his old subject, he not only
sent for the MS. of the first act, but desired Murray "to cut out Sophia
Lee's" (_vide post_, p. 337) "_German's Tale_ from the _Canterbury
Tales_, and send it in a letter" (_Letters_, 1901, v. 390). He seems to
have intended from the first to construct a drama out of the story, and,
no doubt, to acknowledge the source of his inspiration. On the whole, he
carried out his intention, taking places, characters, and incidents as
he found them, but recasting the materials and turning prose into metre.
But here and there, to save himself trouble, he "stole his brooms ready
made," and, as he acknowledges in the Preface, "adopted even the
language of the story." Act ii. sc. 2, lines 87-172; act iii. sc. 4; and
act v. sc. 1, lines 94-479, are, more or less, faithful and exact
reproductions of pp. 203-206, 228-232, and 252-271 of the novel (see
_Canterbury Tales_, ed. 1832, vol. ii.). On the other hand, in the
remaining three-fourths of the play, the language is not Miss Lee's, but
Byron's, and the "conveyance" of incidents occasional and insignificant.
Much, too, was imported into the play (_e.g._ almost the whole of the
fourth act), of which there is neither hint nor suggestion in the story.
Maginn's categorical statement (see "O'Doherty on _Werner_,"
_Miscellanies_, 1885, i. 189) that "here Lord Byron has _invented_
nothing--absolutely, positively, undeniably NOTHING;" that "there is not
one incident in his play, not even the most trivial, that is not to be
found in the novel," etc., is "positively and undeniably" a falsehood.
Maginn read _Werner_ for the purpose of attacking Byron, and, by
printing selected passages from the novel and the play, in parallel
columns, gives the reader to understand that he had made an exhaustive
analysis of the original and the copy. The review, which is quoted as an
authority in the editions of 1832 (xiv. pp. 113, 114) and 1837, etc., p.
341, is disingenuous and misleading.

The original story may be briefly retold. The prodigal and outlawed son
of a Bohemian noble, Count Siegendorf, after various adventures,
marries, under the assumed name of Friedrich Kruitzner, the daughter of
an Italian scholar and man of science, of noble birth, but in narrow
circumstances. A son, Conrad, is born to him, who, at eight years of
age, is transferred to the charge of his grandfather. Twelve years go
by, and, when the fortunes of the younger Siegendorf are at their lowest
ebb, he learns, at the same moment, that his father is dead, and that a
distant kinsman, the Baron Stralenheim, is meditating an attack on his
person, with a view to claiming his inheritance. Of Conrad, who has
disappeared, he hears nothing.

An accident compels the count and the baron to occupy adjoining quarters
in a small town on the northern frontier of Silesia; and, again, another
accident places the usurping and intriguing baron at the mercy of his
poverty-stricken and exiled kinsman. Stralenheim has fallen asleep near
the fire in his easy-chair. Papers and several rouleaux of gold are
ranged on a cabinet beside the bed. Kruitzner, who is armed with "a
large and sharp knife," is suddenly confronted with his unarmed and
slumbering foe, and though habit and conscience conspire to make murder
impossible, he yields to a sudden and irresistible impulse, and snatches
up "the portion of gold which is nearest." He has no sooner returned to
his wife and confessed his deed, than Conrad suddenly appears on the
scene, and at the very moment of an unexpected and joyous reunion with
his parents, learns that his father is a thief. Kruitzner pleads "guilty
with extenuating circumstances," and Conrad, who either is or pretends
to be disgusted at his father's sophistries, makes the best of a bad
business, and undertakes to conceal his father's dishonour and rescue
him from the power of Stralenheim. The plot hinges on the unlooked-for
and unsuspected action of Conrad. Unlike his father, he is not the man
to let "I dare not wait upon I would," but murders Stralenheim in cold
blood, and, at the same time, diverts suspicion from his father and
himself to the person of his comrade, a Hungarian soldier of fortune,
who is already supposed to be the thief, and who had sought and obtained
shelter in the apartments of the conscience-stricken Kruitzner.

The scene changes to Prague. Siegendorf, no longer Kruitzner, has
regained his inheritance, and is once more at the height of splendour
and prosperity. A service of thanksgiving is being held in the cathedral
to commemorate the signature of the Treaty of Prague (1635), and the
count is present in state. Suddenly he catches sight of the Hungarian,
and, "like a flash of lightning" feels and remembers that he _is_ a
thief, and that he might, however unjustly, be suspected if not accused
of the murder of Stralenheim. The service is over, and the count is
recrossing "Muldau's Bridge," when he hears the fatal word _Kruitzner_,
"the seal of his shame," spoken in his ear. He returns to his castle,
and issues orders that the Hungarian should be arrested and
interrogated. An interview takes place, at which the Hungarian denounces
Conrad as the murderer of Stralenheim. The son acknowledges the deed,
and upbraids the father for his weakness and credulity in supposing that
his escape from Stralenheim's machinations could have been effected by
any other means. If, he argues, circumstances can palliate dishonesty,
they can compel and justify murder. Common sense even now demands the
immediate slaughter of the Hungarian, as it compelled and sanctioned the
effectual silencing of Stralenheim. But Siegendorf knows not "thorough,"
and shrinks at assassination. He repudiates and denounces his son, and
connives at the escape of the Hungarian. Conrad, who is banished from
Prague, rejoins his former associates, the "black bands," which were the
scandal and terror of the neighbouring provinces, and is killed in a
skirmish with the regular troops. Siegendorf dies of a broken heart.

The conception of _The German's Tale_, as Byron perceived, is superior
to the execution. The style is laboured and involved, and the narrative
long-winded and tiresome. It is, perhaps, an adaptation, though not a
literal translation, of a German historical romance. But the _motif_--a
son predestined to evil by the weakness and sensuality of his father, a
father punished for his want of rectitude by the passionate criminality
of his son, is the very key-note of tragedy.

If from haste or indolence Byron scamped his task, and cut up whole
cantles of the novel into nerveless and pointless blank verse, here and
there throughout the play, in scattered lines and passages, he outdoes
himself. The inspiration is fitful, but supreme.

_Werner_ was reviewed in _Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_, December,
1822, vol. xii. pp. 710-719 (republished in _Miscellanies_ of W. Maginn,
1885, i. 189); in the _Scots Magazine_, December, 1822, N.S. vol. xi.
pp. 688-694; the _European Magazine_, January, 1823, vol. 83, pp. 73-76;
and in the _Eclectic Review_, February, 1823, N.S. vol. xix. pp.


In an article entitled, "Did Byron write _Werner_?" which appeared in
the _Nineteenth Century_ (August, 1899, vol. 46, pp. 243-250), the Hon.
F. Leveson Gower undertakes to prove that _Werner_ was not written by
Lord Byron, but by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (born June 9, 1757,
died March 30, 1806). He adduces, in support of this claim, (1) a
statement made to him by his sister, the late Lady Georgiana Fullerton,
to the effect that their grandmother, the duchess, "wrote the poem and
gave the MS. to her niece, Lady Caroline Ponsonby (better known as Lady
Caroline Lamb), and that she, some years later, handed it over to Lord
Byron, who, in 1822, published it in his own name;" (2) a letter written
in 1822 by his mother, Lady Granville, to her sister, Lady Carlisle,
which asserts that their mother, the duchess, "wrote an entire tragedy
from Miss Lee's _Kreutzner the Hungarian_ (_sic_)," and that the MS. had
been sent to her by Lady Caroline's brother, Mr. William Ponsonby, and
was in her possession; (3) another letter of Lady Granville's, dated
December 3, 1822, in which she informs her sister that her husband, Lord
Granville, had promised to read _Werner_ aloud to her (i.e. Byron's
_Werner_, published November 23, 1822), a promise which, if fulfilled,
must have revealed one of two things--the existence of two dramas based
on Miss Lee's _Kruitzner_, or the identity of Byron's version with that
of the duchess. Now, argues Mr. Leveson Gower, if Lady Granville had
known that two dramas were in existence, she would not have allowed her
daughter, Lady Georgiana Fullerton, to believe "that the duchess was the
author of the published poem."

I will deal with the external evidence first. Practically it amounts to
this: (1) that Lady Granville knew that her mother, the Duchess of
Devonshire, dramatized Miss Lee's _Kruitzner_; and (2) that Lady
Georgiana Fullerton believed that the duchess gave the MS. of her play
to Lady Caroline Ponsonby, and that, many years after, Lady Caroline
handed it over to Byron.

The external evidence establishes the fact that the Duchess of
Devonshire dramatized _Kruitzner_, but it does not prove that Byron
purloined her adaptation. It records an unverified impression on the
part of the duchess's granddaughter, that the MS. of a play written
between the years 1801-1806, passed into Byron's hands about the year
1813; that he took a copy of the MS.; and that in 1821-22 he caused his
copy to be retranscribed and published under his own name.

But Mr. Leveson Gower appeals to internal as well as external evidence,
(1) He regards the great inferiority of _Werner_ to Byron's published
plays, and to the genuine (hitherto) unpublished first act, together
with the wholesale plagiarisms from Miss Lee's story, as an additional
proof that the work was none of his. (2) He notes, as a suspicious
circumstance, that "while the rough copies of his other poems have been
preserved, no rough copy of _Werner_ is to be found."

In conclusion, he deals with two possible objections which may be
brought against his theory: (1) that Byron would not have incurred the
risk of detection at the hands of the owners of the duchess's MS.; and
(2) that a great poet of assured fame and reputation could have had no
possible motive for perpetrating a literary fraud. The first objection
he answers by assuming that Byron would have counted on the reluctance
of the "Ponsonby family and the daughters of the Duchess" to rake up the
ashes of old scandals; the second, by pointing out that, in 1822, he was
making "frantic endeavours to obtain money, not for himself, but to help
the cause of Greece."

(1) With regard to the marked inferiority of _Werner_ to Byron's other
plays, and the relative proportion of adapted to original matter, Mr.
Leveson Gower appears to have been misled by the disingenuous criticism
of Maginn and other contemporary reviewers (_vide_ the Introduction,
etc., p. 326). There is no such inferiority, and the plagiarisms, which
were duly acknowledged, are confined to certain limited portions of the
play. (2) There is nothing unusual in the fact that the rough draft of
_Werner_ cannot be found. In fact, but few of the early drafts of the
dramas and other poems written in the later Italian days ever reached
Murray's hands, or are still in existence. The fair copy for the printer
alone was sent home. The time had gone by when Byron's publisher, who
was also his friend, would stipulate that "all the original MSS.,
copies and scraps" should fall to his share. But no argument can be
founded on so insignificant a circumstance.

Finally, the argument on which Mr. Leveson Gower dwells at some length,
that Byron's "motive" for perpetrating a literary fraud was the
necessity for raising money for the cause of Greek independence, is
refuted by the fact that _Werner_ was begun in December, 1821, and
finished in January, 1822, and that it was not till the spring of 1823
that he was elected a member of the Greek Committee, or had any occasion
to raise funds for the maintenance of troops or the general expenses of
the war. So far from attempting to raise money by _Werner_, in letters
to Murray, dated March 6, October 24, November 18, 1822, he emphatically
waives the question of "terms," and makes no demand or request for money
whatever. It was not till December 23, 1823 (_Letters_, 1901, vi. 287),
two years after the play had been written, that he speaks of applying
the two or three hundred pounds which the copyright of _Werner_ might be
worth, to the maintenance of armed men in the service of the
_Provisional Government_. He could not have "purloined" and palmed off
as his own the duchess's version of Miss Lee's story in order to raise
money for a purpose which had not arisen. He had no intention at first
or last of presenting the copyright of _Werner_ to Murray or Hunt, but
he was willing to wait for his money, and had no motive for raising
funds by an illegal and dishonourable trick.

That Byron did _not_ write _Werner_ is, surely, non-proven on the
external and internal evidence adduced by Mr. Leveson Gower. On the
other hand, there is abundant evidence, both external and internal,
that, apart from his acknowledged indebtedness to Miss Lee's story, he
did write _Werner_.

To take the external evidence first. On the first page of Mrs. Shelley's
transcript of _Werner_, Byron inserted the date, "Dec. 18, 1821," and on
the last he wrote "[The End] of fifth act of the Drama. B. P[isa]. Jy
21. 1822."

Turning to the journal of Edward Williams (Shelley's _Prose Works_,
1880, iv. 318), I find the following entries:--

"December 21, 1821. Lord B. told me that he had commenced a tragedy from
Miss Lee's _German Tale_ ('_Werner_'), and had been fagging at it all

"January 8, 1822. Mary read us the first two acts of Lord B.'s

Again, in an unpublished diary of the same period it is recorded that
Mrs. Shelley was engaged in the task of copying on January 17, 1822, and
the eight following days, and that on January 25 she finished her

Again, Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 409) records the fact that
Byron told him "that he had almost finished another play ... called
_Werner_;" and (p. 412) "that _Werner_ was written in twenty-eight days,
and one entire act at a sitting." It is almost incredible that Byron
should have recopied a copy of the duchess's play in order to impose on
Mrs. Shelley and Williams and Medwin; and it is quite incredible that
they were in the plot, and lent themselves to the deception. It is
certain that both Williams and Medwin believed that Byron was the author
of _Werner_, and it is certain that nothing would have induced Mrs.
Shelley to be _particeps criminis_--to copy a play which was not
Byron's, to be published as Byron's, and to suffer her copy to be
fraudulently endorsed by her guilty accomplice.

The internal evidence of the genuineness of _Werner_ is still more
convincing. In the first place, there are numerous "undesigned
coincidences," allusions, and phrases to be found in _Werner_ and
elsewhere in Byron's _Poetical Works_, which bear his sign-manual, and
cannot be attributed to another writer; and, secondly, scattered through
the play there are numerous lines, passages, allusions--"a cloud of
witnesses" to their Byronic inspiration and creation.

Take the following parallels:--

_Werner_, act i. sc. 1, lines 693, 694--

          "... as parchment on a drum,
    Like Ziska's skin."

_Age of Bronze_, lines 133, 134--

                     "The time may come,
    His name shall beat the alarm like Ziska's drum."

_Werner_, act ii. sc. 2, lines 177, 178--

                 "... save your throat
    From the Raven-stone."

_Manfred_, act iii. (original version)--

    "The raven sits
      On the Raven-stone."

_Werner_, act ii. sc. 2, line 279--

    "Things which had made this silkworm cast his skin."

_Marino Faliero_, act ii. sc. 2, line 115--

    "... these swoln silkworms masters."

("Silkworm," as a term of contempt, is an Italianism.)

_Werner_, act iii. sc. 1, lines 288, 289--

    "I fear that men must draw their chariots, as
    They say kings did Sesostris'."

_Age of Bronze_, line 45--

    "The new Sesostris, whose unharnessed kings."

_Werner_, act iii. sc. 3, lines 10, 11--

           "... while the knoll
    Of long-lived parents."

_Childe Harold_, Canto III. stanza xcvi. lines 5, 6--

                    "... is the knoll
    Of what in me is sleepless."

(Byron is the authority for the use of "knoll" as a substantive.)

Or, compare the statement (see act i. sc. 1, line 213, _sq._) that "A
great personage ... is drowned below the ford, with five post-horses, A
monkey and a mastiff--and a valet," with the corresponding passage in
_Kruitzner_ and in Byron's unfinished fragment; and note that "the
monkey, the mastiff, and the valet," which formed part of Byron's
retinue in 1821, are conspicuous by their absence from Miss Lee's story
and the fragment.

Space precludes the quotation of further parallels, and for specimens of
a score of passages which proclaim their author the following lines must

Act i. sc. 1, lines 163-165--

                    "... although then
    My passions were all living serpents, and
    Twined like the Gorgon's round me."

Act iii. sc. 1, lines 264-268--

              "... sound him with the gem;
    'Twill sink into his venal soul like lead
    Into the deep, and bring up slime and mud.
    And ooze, too, from the bottom, as the lead doth
    With its greased understratum."

_Did_ Byron write _Werner_, or was it the Duchess of Devonshire?

(For a correspondence on the subject, see _Literature_, August 12, 19,
26, September 9, 1899.)


                          THE ILLUSTRIOUS GOETHE

                     BY ONE OF HIS HUMBLEST ADMIRERS,

                               THIS TRAGEDY

                              IS DEDICATED.


The following drama is taken entirely from the _German's Tale,
Kruitzner_, published many years ago in "Lee's _Canterbury Tales_"
written (I believe) by two sisters, of whom one furnished only this
story and another, both of which are considered superior to the
remainder of the collection.[159] I have adopted the characters, plan,
and even the language of many parts of this story. Some of the
characters are modified or altered, a few of the names changed, and one
character (Ida of Stralenheim) added by myself: but in the rest the
original is chiefly followed. When I was young (about fourteen, I
think,) I first read this tale, which made a deep impression upon me;
and may, indeed, be said to contain the germ of much that I have since
written. I am not sure that it ever was very popular; or, at any rate,
its popularity has since been eclipsed by that of other great writers in
the same department. But I have generally found that those who _had_
read it, agreed with me in their estimate of the singular power of mind
and conception which it developes. I should also add _conception_,
rather than execution; for the story might, perhaps, have been developed
with greater advantage. Amongst those whose opinions agreed with mine
upon this story, I could mention some very high names: but it is not
necessary, nor indeed of any use; for every one must judge according to
his own feelings. I merely refer the reader to the original story, that
he may see to what extent I have borrowed from it; and am not unwilling
that he should find much greater pleasure in perusing it than the drama
which is founded upon its contents.

I had begun a drama upon this tale so far back as 1815, (the first I
ever attempted, except one at thirteen years old, called "Ulric and
Ilvina," which I had sense enough to burn,) and had nearly completed an
act, when I was interrupted by circumstances. This is somewhere amongst
my papers in England; but as it has not been found, I have re-written
the first, and added the subsequent acts.

The whole is neither intended, nor in any shape adapted, for the

                            DRAMATIS PERSONAE.




                               IDA STRALENHEIM.

                    SCENE--Partly on the Frontier of Silesia, and
                     partly in Siegendorf Castle, near Prague.

                    Time--_The Close of the Thirty Years' War_[160].

                       WERNER; OR, THE INHERITANCE.

                                  ACT I.

     SCENE I.--_The Hall of a decayed Palace near a small Town on the
          Northern Frontier of Silesia--the Night tempestuous_.

                   WERNER _and_ JOSEPHINE, _his Wife_.

    _Jos._ My love, be calmer!

    _Wer._                     I am calm.

    _Jos._                               To me--
    Yes, but not to thyself: thy pace is hurried,
    And no one walks a chamber like to ours,
    With steps like thine, when his heart is at rest.
    Were it a garden, I should deem thee happy,
    And stepping with the bee from flower to flower;
    But _here!_

    _Wer._      'Tis chill; the tapestry lets through
    The wind to which it waves: my blood is frozen.

    _Jos._ Ah, no!

    _Wer._ (_smiling_). Why! wouldst thou have it so?

    _Jos._                                            I would
    Have it a healthful current.

    _Wer._                        Let it flow                           10
    Until 'tis spilt or checked--how soon, I care not.

    _Jos._ And am I nothing in thy heart?

    _Wer._                                All--all.

    _Jos._ Then canst thou wish for that which must break mine?

    _Wer._ (_approaching her slowly_).
    But for _thee_ I had been--no matter what--
    But much of good and evil; what I am,
    Thou knowest; what I might or should have been,
    Thou knowest not: but still I love thee, nor
    Shall aught divide us.
               [WERNER _walks on abruptly, and then approaches_ JOSEPHINE.
                          The storm of the night,
    Perhaps affects me; I'm a thing of feelings,
    And have of late been sickly, as, alas!                             20
    Thou know'st by sufferings more than mine, my Love!
    In watching me.

    _Jos._          To see thee well is much--
    To see thee happy----

    _Wer._                Where hast thou seen such?
    Let me be wretched with the rest!

    _Jos._                            But think
    How many in this hour of tempest shiver
    Beneath the biting wind and heavy rain,
    Whose every drop bows them down nearer earth,
    Which hath no chamber for them save beneath
    Her surface.

    _Wer._        And that's not the worst: who cares
    For chambers? rest is all. The wretches whom                        30
    Thou namest--aye, the wind howls round them, and
    The dull and dropping rain saps in their bones
    The creeping marrow. I have been a soldier,
    A hunter, and a traveller, and am
    A beggar, and should know the thing thou talk'st of.

    _Jos._ And art thou not now sheltered from them all?
    _Wer._ Yes. And from these alone.

    _Jos._                           And that is something.

    _Wer._ True--to a peasant.[cn]

    _Jos._                       Should the nobly born
    Be thankless for that refuge which their habits
    Of early delicacy render more                                       40
    Needful than to the peasant, when the ebb
    Of fortune leaves them on the shoals of life?

    _Wer._ It is not that, thou know'st it is not: we
    Have borne all this, I'll not say patiently,
    Except in thee--but we have borne it.

    _Jos._                                Well?

    _Wer._ Something beyond our outward sufferings (though
    These were enough to gnaw into our souls)
    Hath stung me oft, and, more than ever, _now_.
    When, but for this untoward sickness, which
    Seized me upon this desolate frontier, and                          50
    Hath wasted, not alone my strength, but means,
    And leaves us--no! this is beyond me!--but
    For this I had been happy--_thou_ been happy--
    The splendour of my rank sustained--my name--
    My father's name--been still upheld; and, more
    Than those----

    _Jos._ (_abruptly_). My son--our son--our Ulric,
    Been clasped again in these long-empty arms,
    And all a mother's hunger satisfied.
    Twelve years! he was but eight then:--beautiful
    He was, and beautiful he must be now,                               60
    My Ulric! my adored!

    _Wer._               I have been full oft
    The chase of Fortune; now she hath o'ertaken
    My spirit where it cannot turn at bay,--
    Sick, poor, and lonely.

    _Jos._                  Lonely! my dear husband?

    _Wer._ Or worse--involving all I love, in this
    Far worse than solitude. _Alone_, I had died,
    And all been over in a nameless grave.

    _Jos._ And I had not outlived thee; but pray take
    Comfort! We have struggled long; and they who strive
    With Fortune win or weary her at last,                              70
    So that they find the goal or cease to feel
    Further. Take comfort,--we shall find our boy.

    _Wer._ We were in sight of him, of every thing
    Which could bring compensation for past sorrow--
    And to be baffled thus!

    _Jos._                  We are not baffled.

    _Wer._ Are we not penniless?

    _Jos._                       We ne'er were wealthy.

    _Wer._ But I was born to wealth, and rank, and power;
    Enjoyed them, loved them, and, alas! abused them,
    And forfeited them by my father's wrath,
    In my o'er-fervent youth: but for the abuse                         80
    Long-sufferings have atoned. My father's death
    Left the path open, yet not without snares.
    This cold and creeping kinsman, who so long
    Kept his eye on me, as the snake upon
    The fluttering bird, hath ere this time outstept me,
    Become the master of my rights, and lord
    Of that which lifts him up to princes in
    Dominion and domain.

    _Jos._               Who knows? our son
    May have returned back to his grandsire, and
    Even now uphold thy rights for thee?

    _Wer._                              'Tis hopeless.                  90
    Since his strange disappearance from my father's,
    Entailing, as it were, my sins upon
    Himself, no tidings have revealed his course.
    I parted with him to his grandsire, on
    The promise that his anger would stop short
    Of the third generation; but Heaven seems
    To claim her stern prerogative, and visit
    Upon my boy his father's faults and follies.

    _Jos._ I must hope better still,--at least we have yet
    Baffled the long pursuit of Stralenheim.                           100

    _Wer._ We should have done, but for this fatal sickness;--
    More fatal than a mortal malady,
    Because it takes not life, but life's sole solace:
    Even now I feel my spirit girt about
    By the snares of this avaricious fiend:--
    How do I know he hath not tracked us here?

    _Jos._ He does not know thy person; and his spies,
    Who so long watched thee, have been left at Hamburgh.
    Our unexpected journey, and this change
    Of name, leaves all discovery far behind:                          110
    None hold us here for aught save what we seem.

    _Wer._ Save what we seem! save what we _are_--sick beggars,
    Even to our very hopes.--Ha! ha!

    _Jos._                           Alas!
    That bitter laugh!

    _Wer._            _Who_ would read in this form
    The high soul of the son of a long line?
    _Who_, in this garb, the heir of princely lands?
    _Who_, in this sunken, sickly eye, the pride
    Of rank and ancestry? In this worn cheek
    And famine-hollowed brow, the Lord of halls
    Which daily feast a thousand vassals?

    _Jos._                                You                          120
    Pondered not thus upon these worldly things,
    My Werner! when you deigned to choose for bride
    The foreign daughter of a wandering exile.

    _Wer._ An exile's daughter with an outcast son,
    Were a fit marriage: but I still had hopes
    To lift thee to the state we both were born for.
    Your father's house was noble, though decayed;
    And worthy by its birth to match with ours.

    _Jos._ Your father did not think so, though 'twas noble;
    But had my birth been all my claim to match                        130
    With thee, I should have deemed it what it is.

    _Wer._ And what is that in thine eyes?

    _Jos._                                 All which it
    Has done in our behalf,--nothing.

    _Wer._                            How,--nothing?

    _Jos._ Or worse; for it has been a canker in
    Thy heart from the beginning: but for this,
    We had not felt our poverty but as
    Millions of myriads feel it--cheerfully;
    But for these phantoms of thy feudal fathers,
    Thou mightst have earned thy bread, as thousands earn it;
    Or, if that seem too humble, tried by commerce,                    140
    Or other civic means, to amend thy fortunes.

    _Wer._ (_ironically_). And been an Hanseatic burgher? Excellent!

    _Jos._ Whate'er thou mightest have been, to me thou art
    What no state high or low can ever change,
    My heart's first choice;--which chose thee, knowing neither
    Thy birth, thy hopes, thy pride; nought, save thy sorrows:
    While they last, let me comfort or divide them:
    When they end--let mine end with them, or thee!

    _Wer._ My better angel! Such I have ever found thee;
    This rashness, or this weakness of my temper,                      150
    Ne'er raised a thought to injure thee or thine.
    Thou didst not mar my fortunes: my own nature
    In youth was such as to unmake an empire,
    Had such been my inheritance; but now,
    Chastened, subdued, out-worn, and taught to know
    Myself,--to lose this for our son and thee!
    Trust me, when, in my two-and-twentieth spring,
    My father barred me from my father's house,
    The last sole scion of a thousand sires
    (For I was then the last), it hurt me less                         160
    Than to behold my boy and my boy's mother
    Excluded in their innocence from what
    My faults deserved-exclusion; although then
    My passions were all living serpents,[161] and
    Twined like the Gorgon's round me.
                                              [_A loud knocking is heard_.

    _Jos._                             Hark!

    _Wer._                                  A knocking!

    _Jos._ Who can it be at this lone hour? We have
    Few visitors.

    _Wer._        And poverty hath none,
    Save those who come to make it poorer still.
    Well--I am prepared.

                             [WERNER _puts his hand into his bosom, as if
                                to search for some weapon_.

    _Jos._               Oh! do not look so. I
    Will to the door. It cannot be of import                           170
    In this lone spot of wintry desolation:--
    The very desert saves man from mankind.
                                                  [_She goes to the door_.

                            _Enter_ IDENSTEIN.

    _Iden._ A fair good evening to my fair hostess
    And worthy----What's your name, my friend?

    _Wer._                                   Are you
    Not afraid to demand it?

    _Iden._                  Not afraid?
    Egad! I am afraid. You look as if
    I asked for something better than your name,
    By the face you put on it.

    _Wer._                    Better, sir!

    _Iden._ Better or worse, like matrimony: what
    Shall I say more? You have been a guest this month                 180
    Here in the prince's palace--(to be sure,
    His Highness had resigned it to the ghosts
    And rats these twelve years--but 'tis still a palace)--
    I say you have been our lodger, and as yet
    We do not know your name.

    _Wer._                    My name is Werner[162].

    _Iden._ A goodly name, a very worthy name,
    As e'er was gilt upon a trader's board:
    I have a cousin in the lazaretto
    Of Hamburgh, who has got a wife who bore
    The same. He is an officer of trust,                               190
    Surgeon's assistant (hoping to be surgeon),
    And has done miracles i' the way of business.
    Perhaps you are related to my relative?

    _Wer._ To yours?

    _Jos._           Oh, yes; we are, but distantly.
    (_Aside to_ WERNER.) Cannot you humour the dull gossip till
    We learn his purpose?

    _Iden._               Well, I'm glad of that;
    I thought so all along, such natural yearnings
    Played round my heart:--blood is not water, cousin;
    And so let's have some wine, and drink unto
    Our better acquaintance: relatives should be                       200

    _Wer._ You appear to have drunk enough already;
    And if you have not, I've no wine to offer,
    Else it were yours: but this you know, or should know:
    You see I am poor, and sick, and will not see
    That I would be alone; but to your business!
    What brings you here?

    _Iden._              Why, what should bring me here?

    _Wer._ I know not, though I think that I could guess
    That which will send you hence.

    _Jos._ (_aside_).               Patience, dear Werner!

    _Iden._ You don't know what has happened, then?

    _Jos._                                        How should we?

    _Iden._ The river has o'erflowed.

    _Jos._                            Alas! we have known              210
    That to our sorrow for these five days; since
    It keeps us here.

    _Iden._           But what you don't know is,
    That a great personage, who fain would cross
    Against the stream and three postilions' wishes,
    Is drowned below the ford, with five post-horses,
    A monkey, and a mastiff--and a valet[163].

    _Jos._ Poor creatures! are you sure?

    _Iden._                              Yes, of the monkey,
    And the valet, and the cattle; but as yet
    We know not if his Excellency's dead
    Or no; your noblemen are hard to drown,                            220
    As it is fit that men in office should be;
    But what is certain is, that he has swallowed
    Enough of the Oder[164] to have burst two peasants;
    And now a Saxon and Hungarian traveller,
    Who, at their proper peril, snatched him from
    The whirling river, have sent on to crave
    A lodging, or a grave, according as
    It may turn out with the live or dead body.

    _Jos._ And where will you receive him? here, I hope,
    If we can be of service--say the word.                             230

    _Iden._ Here? no; but in the Prince's own apartment,
    As fits a noble guest:--'tis damp, no doubt,
    Not having been inhabited these twelve years;
    But then he comes from a much damper place,
    So scarcely will catch cold in't, if he be
    Still liable to cold--and if not, why
    He'll be worse lodged to-morrow: ne'ertheless,
    I have ordered fire and all appliances
    To be got ready for the worst--that is,
    In case he should survive.

    _Jos._                     Poor gentleman!                         240
    I hope he will, with all my heart.

    _Wer._                              Intendant,
    Have you not learned his name? (_Aside to his wife_.) My Josephine,
    Retire: I'll sift this fool.                        [_Exit_ JOSEPHINE.

    _Iden._                      His name? oh Lord!
    Who knows if he hath now a name or no?
    'Tis time enough to ask it when he's able
    To give an answer; or if not, to put
    His heir's upon his epitaph. Methought
    Just now you chid me for demanding names?

    _Wer._ True, true, I did so: you say well and wisely.

                           _Enter_ GABOR.[165]

    _Gab._ If I intrude, I crave----

    _Iden._                          Oh, no intrusion!                 250
    This is the palace; this a stranger like
    Yourself; I pray you make yourself at home:
    But where's his Excellency? and how fares he?

    _Gab._ Wetly and wearily, but out of peril:
    He paused to change his garments in a cottage
    (Where I doffed mine for these, and came on hither),
    And has almost recovered from his drenching.
    He will be here anon.

    _Iden._               What ho, there! bustle!
    Without there, Herman, Weilburg, Peter, Conrad!
                      [_Gives directions to different servants who enter_.
    A nobleman sleeps here to-night--see that                          260
    All is in order in the damask chamber--
    Keep up the stove--I will myself to the cellar--
    And Madame Idenstein (my consort, stranger,)
    Shall furnish forth the bed-apparel; for,
    To say the truth, they are marvellous scant of this
    Within the palace precincts, since his Highness
    Left it some dozen years ago. And then
    His Excellency will sup, doubtless?

    _Gab._                              Faith!
    I cannot tell; but I should think the pillow
    Would please him better than the table, after                      270
    His soaking in your river: but for fear
    Your viands should be thrown away, I mean
    To sup myself, and have a friend without
    Who will do honour to your good cheer with
    A traveller's appetite.

    _Iden._                  But are you sure
    His Excellency----But his name: what is it?

    _Gab._ I do not know.

    _Iden._               And yet you saved his life.

    _Gab._ I helped my friend to do so.

    _Iden._                             Well, that's strange,
    To save a man's life whom you do not know.

    _Gab._ Not so; for there are some I know so well,                  280
    I scarce should give myself the trouble.

    _Iden._                                 Pray,
    Good friend, and who may you be?

    _Gab._                          By my family,

    _Iden._    Which is called?

    _Gab._                    It matters little.

    _Iden._ (_aside_). I think that all the world are grown anonymous,
    Since no one cares to tell me what he's called!
    Pray, has his Excellency a large suite?

    _Gab._                                  Sufficient.

    _Iden._ How many?

    _Gab._            I did not count them.
    We came up by mere accident, and just
    In time to drag him through his carriage window.

    _Iden._ Well, what would I give to save a great man!               290
    No doubt you'll have a swingeing sum as recompense.

    _Gab._ Perhaps.

    _Iden._         Now, how much do you reckon on?

    _Gab._ I have not yet put up myself to sale:
    In the mean time, my best reward would be
    A glass of your[166] Hockcheimer--a _green_ glass,
    Wreathed with rich grapes and Bacchanal devices,
    O'erflowing with the oldest of your vintage:
    For which I promise you, in case you e'er
    Run hazard of being drowned, (although I own
    It seems, of all deaths, the least likely for you,)                300
    I'll pull you out for nothing. Quick, my friend,
    And think, for every bumper I shall quaff,
    A wave the less may roll above your head.

    _Iden._ (_aside_). I don't much like this fellow--close and dry
    He seems,--two things which suit me not; however,
    Wine he shall have; if that unlocks him not,
    I shall not sleep to-night for curiosity.           [_Exit_ IDENSTEIN.

    _Gab._ (_to_ WERNER). This master of the ceremonies is
    The intendant of the palace, I presume:
    'Tis a fine building, but decayed.

    _Wer._                             The apartment                   310
    Designed for him you rescued will be found
    In fitter order for a sickly guest.

    _Gab._ I wonder then you occupied it not,
    For you seem delicate in health.

    _Wer._ (_quickly_).              Sir!

    _Gab._                               Pray
    Excuse me: have I said aught to offend you?

    _Wer._ Nothing: but we are strangers to each other.

    _Gab._ And that's the reason I would have us less so:
    I thought our bustling guest without had said
    You were a chance and passing guest, the counterpart
    Of me and my companions.

    _Wer._                   Very true.                                320

    _Gab._ Then, as we never met before, and never,
    It may be, may again encounter, why,
    I thought to cheer up this old dungeon here
    (At least to me) by asking you to share
    The fare of my companions and myself.

    _Wer._ Pray, pardon me; my health----

    _Gab._                             Even as you please.
    I have been a soldier, and perhaps am blunt
    In bearing.

    _Wer._      I have also served, and can
    Requite a soldier's greeting.

    _Gab._                        In what service?
    The Imperial?

    _Wer._ (_quickly, and then interrupting himself_).
                 I commanded--no--I mean                               330
    I served; but it is many years ago,
    When first Bohemia[167] raised her banner 'gainst
    The Austrian.

    _Gab._        Well, that's over now, and peace
    Has turned some thousand gallant hearts adrift
    To live as they best may: and, to say truth,
    Some take the shortest.

    _Wer._                  What is that?

    _Gab._                                Whate'er
    They lay their hands on. All Silesia and
    Lusatia's woods are tenanted by bands
    Of the late troops, who levy on the country
    Their maintenance: the Chatelains must keep                        340
    Their castle walls--beyond them 'tis but doubtful
    Travel for your rich Count or full-blown Baron.
    My comfort is that, wander where I may,
    I've little left to lose now.

    _Wer._                        And I--nothing.

    _Gab._ That's harder still. You say you were a soldier.

    _Wer._ I was.

    _Gab._        You look one still. All soldiers are
    Or should be comrades, even though enemies.
    Our swords when drawn must cross, our engines aim
    (While levelled) at each other's hearts; but when
    A truce, a peace, or what you will, remits                         350
    The steel into its scabbard, and lets sleep
    The spark which lights the matchlock, we are brethren.
    You are poor and sickly--I am not rich, but healthy;
    I want for nothing which I cannot want;
    You seem devoid of this--wilt share it?
                                             [GABOR _pulls out his purse_.

    _Wer._                                  Who
    Told you I was a beggar?

    _Gab._                   You yourself,
    In saying you were a soldier during peace-time.

    _Wer._ (_looking at him with suspicion_). You know me not.

    _Gab._      I know no man, not even
    Myself: how should I then know one I ne'er
    Beheld till half an hour since?

    _Wer._                          Sir, I thank you.                  360
    Your offer's noble were it to a friend,
    And not unkind as to an unknown stranger,
    Though scarcely prudent; but no less I thank you.
    I am a beggar in all save his trade;
    And when I beg of any one, it shall be
    Of him who was the first to offer what
    Few can obtain by asking. Pardon me.                   [_Exit_ WERNER.

    _Gab._ (_solus_). A goodly fellow by his looks, though worn
    As most good fellows are, by pain or pleasure,
    Which tear life out of us before our time;                         370
    I scarce know which most quickly: but he seems
    To have seen better days, as who has not
    Who has seen yesterday?--But here approaches
    Our sage intendant, with the wine: however,
    For the cup's sake I'll bear the cupbearer.

                            _Enter_ IDENSTEIN.

    _Iden._ 'Tis here! the _supernaculum!_[168] twenty years
    Of age, if 'tis a day.

    _Gab._                 Which epoch makes
    Young women and old wine; and 'tis great pity,
    Of two such excellent things, increase of years,
    Which still improves the one, should spoil the other.              380
    Fill full--Here's to our hostess!--your fair wife!
                                                       [_Takes the glass_.

    _Iden._ Fair!--Well, I trust your taste in wine is equal
    To that you show for beauty; but I pledge you

    _Gab._        Is not the lovely woman
    I met in the adjacent hall, who, with
    An air, and port, and eye, which would have better
    Beseemed this palace in its brightest days
    (Though in a garb adapted to its present
    Abandonment), returned my salutation--
    Is not the same your spouse?

    _Iden._                     I would she were!                      390
    But you're mistaken:--that's the stranger's wife.

    _Gab._ And by her aspect she might be a Prince's;
    Though time hath touched her too, she still retains
    Much beauty, and more majesty.

    _Iden._                        And that
    Is more than I can say for Madame Idenstein,
    At least in beauty: as for majesty,
    She has some of its properties which might
    Be spared--but never mind!

    _Gab._                     I don't. But who
    May be this stranger? He too hath a bearing
    Above his outward fortunes.

    _Iden._                     There I differ.                        400
    He's poor as Job, and not so patient; but
    Who he may be, or what, or aught of him,
    Except his name (and that I only learned
    To-night), I know not.

    _Gab._                 But how came he here?

    _Iden._ In a most miserable old caleche,
    About a month since, and immediately
    Fell sick, almost to death. He should have died.

    _Gab._ Tender and true!--but why?

    _Iden._                           Why, what is life
    Without a living? He has not a stiver.[co]

    _Gab._ In that case, I much wonder that a person                   410
    Of your apparent prudence should admit
    Guests so forlorn into this noble mansion.

    _Iden._ That's true: but pity, as you know, _does_ make
    One's heart commit these follies; and besides,
    They had some valuables left at that time,
    Which paid their way up to the present hour;
    And so I thought they might as well be lodged
    Here as at the small tavern, and I gave them
    The run of some of the oldest palace rooms.
    They served to air them, at the least as long                      420
    As they could pay for firewood.

    _Gab._                          Poor souls!

    _Iden._                                    Aye,
    Exceeding poor.

    _Gab._          And yet unused to poverty,
    If I mistake not. Whither were they going?

    _Iden._ Oh! Heaven knows where, unless to Heaven itself.
    Some days ago that looked the likeliest journey
    For Werner.

    _Gab._      Werner! I have heard the name.
    But it may be a feigned one.

    _Iden._                      Like enough!
    But hark! a noise of wheels and voices, and
    A blaze of torches from without. As sure
    As destiny, his Excellency's come.                                 430
    I must be at my post; will you not join me,
    To help him from his carriage, and present
    Your humble duty at the door?

    _Gab._                        I dragged him
    From out that carriage when he would have given
    His barony or county to repel
    The rushing river from his gurgling throat.
    He has valets now enough: they stood aloof then,
    Shaking their dripping ears upon the shore,
    All roaring "Help!" but offering none; and as
    For _duty_ (as you call it)--I did mine _then_,                    440
    Now do _yours_. Hence, and bow and cringe him here!

    _Iden._ _I_ cringe!--but I shall lose the opportunity--
    Plague take it! he'll be _here_, and I _not there!_
                                              [_Exit_ IDENSTEIN _hastily_.

                            _Re-enter_ WERNER.

    _Wer._ (_to himself_). I heard a noise of wheels and voices. How
    All sounds now jar me!                            [_Perceiving_ GABOR.
                          Still here! Is he not
    A spy of my pursuer's? His frank offer
    So suddenly, and to a stranger, wore
    The aspect of a secret enemy;
    For friends are slow at such.

    _Gab._                       Sir, you seem rapt;
    And yet the time is not akin to thought.                           450
    These old walls will be noisy soon. The baron,
    Or count (or whatsoe'er this half drowned noble
    May be), for whom this desolate village and
    Its lone inhabitants show more respect
    Than did the elements, is come.

    _Iden._ (_without_).            This way--
    This way, your Excellency:--have a care,
    The staircase is a little gloomy, and
    Somewhat decayed; but if we had expected
    So high a guest--Pray take my arm, my Lord!

         _Enter_ STRALENHEIM, IDENSTEIN, _and Attendants--partly
          his own, and partly Retainers of the Domain of which_
                        IDENSTEIN _is Intendant_.

    _Stral._ I'll rest here a moment.

    _Iden._ (_to the servants_).     Ho! a chair!                      460
    Instantly, knaves.                           [STRALENHEIM _sits down_.

    _Wer._ (_aside_). Tis he!

    _Stral._                  I'm better now.
    Who are these strangers?

    _Iden._                 Please you, my good Lord,
    One says he is no stranger.

    _Wer._ (_aloud and hastily_). _Who_ says that?
                                        [_They look at him with surprise_.

    _Iden._ Why, no one spoke _of you_, or _to you_!--but
    Here's one his Excellency may be pleased
    To recognise.                                    [_Pointing to_ GABOR.

    _Gab._       I seek not to disturb
    His noble memory.

    _Stral._          I apprehend
    This is one of the strangers to whose aid[cp]
    I owe my rescue. Is not that the other?
                                                    [_Pointing to_ WERNER.
    My state when I was succoured must excuse                          470
    My uncertainty to whom I owe so much.

    _Iden._ He!--no, my Lord! he rather wants for rescue
    Than can afford it. 'Tis a poor sick man,
    Travel-tired, and lately risen from a bed
    From whence he never dreamed to rise.

    _Stral._                              Methought
    That there were two.

    _Gab._               There were, in company;
    But, in the service rendered to your Lordship,
    I needs must say but _one_, and he is absent.
    The chief part of whatever aid was rendered
    Was _his_: it was his fortune to be first.                         480
    My will was not inferior, but his strength
    And youth outstripped me; therefore do not waste
    Your thanks on me. I was but a glad second
    Unto a nobler principal.

    _Stral._                 Where is he?

    _An Atten._ My Lord, he tarried in the cottage where
    Your Excellency rested for an hour,
    And said he would be here to-morrow.

    _Stral._                             Till
    That hour arrives, I can but offer thanks,
    And then----

    _Gab._      I seek no more, and scarce deserve
    So much. My comrade may speak for himself.                         490

    _Stral._ (_fixing his eyes upon_ WERNER: _then aside_).
      It cannot be! and yet he must be looked to.
    'Tis twenty years since I beheld him with
    These eyes; and, though my agents still have kept
    _Theirs_ on him, policy has held aloof
    My own from his, not to alarm him into
    Suspicion of my plan. Why did I leave
    At Hamburgh those who would have made assurance
    If this be he or no? I thought, ere now,
    To have been lord of Siegendorf, and parted
    In haste, though even the elements appear                          500
    To fight against me, and this sudden flood
    May keep me prisoner here till----
                         [_He pauses and looks at_ WERNER: _then resumes_.
                                      This man must
    Be watched. If it is he, he is so changed,
    His father, rising from his grave again,
    Would pass by him unknown. I must be wary:
    An error would spoil all.

    _Iden._                   Your Lordship seems
    Pensive. Will it not please you to pass on?

    _Stral._ 'Tis past fatigue, which gives my weighed-down spirit
    An outward show of thought. I will to rest.

    _Iden._ The Prince's chamber is prepared, with all                 510
    The very furniture the Prince used when
    Last here, in its full splendour.
                           (_Aside_). Somewhat tattered,
    And devilish damp, but fine enough by torch-light;
    And that's enough for your right noble blood
    Of twenty quarterings upon a hatchment;
    So let their bearer sleep 'neath something like one
    Now, as he one day will for ever lie.

    _Stral._ (_rising and turning to_ GABOR).
    Good night, good people! Sir, I trust to-morrow
    Will find me apter to requite your service.
    In the meantime I crave your company                               520
    A moment in my chamber.

    _Gab._                  I attend you.

    _Stral_, (_after a few steps, pauses, and calls_ WERNER).

    _Wer._ Sir!

    _Iden._ _Sir!_ Lord--oh Lord! Why don't you say
    His Lordship, or his Excellency? Pray,
    My Lord, excuse this poor man's want of breeding:
    He hath not been accustomed to admission
    To such a presence.

    _Stral._ (_to_ IDENSTEIN). Peace, intendant!

    _Iden._                                           Oh!
    I am dumb.

    _Stral._ (_to_ WERNER). Have you been long here?

    _Wer._                                          Long?

    _Stral._                                             I sought
    An answer, not an echo.

    _Wer._                  You may seek
    Both from the walls. I am not used to answer
    Those whom I know not.

    _Stral._                Indeed! Ne'er the less,                    530
    You might reply with courtesy to what
    Is asked in kindness.

    _Wer._                When I know it such
    I will requite--that is, _reply_--in unison.

    _Stral._ The intendant said, you had been detained by sickness--
    If I could aid you--journeying the same way?

    _Wer._ (_quickly_). I am not journeying the same way!

    _Stral._                                             How know ye
    That, ere you know my route?

    _Wer._                      Because there is
    But one way that the rich and poor must tread
    Together. You diverged from that dread path
    Some hours ago, and I some days: henceforth                        540
    Our roads must lie asunder, though they tend
    All to one home.

    _Stral._         Your language is above
    Your station.

    _Wer._ (_bitterly_). Is it?

    _Stral._                    Or, at least, beyond
    Your garb.

    _Wer._ 'Tis well that it is not beneath it,
    As sometimes happens to the better clad.
    But, in a word, what would you with me?

    _Stral._ (_startled_).                  I?

    _Wer._ Yes--you! You know me not, and question me,
    And wonder that I answer not--not knowing
    My inquisitor. Explain what you would have,
    And then I'll satisfy yourself, or me.                             550

    _Stral._ I knew not that you had reasons for reserve.

    _Wer._ Many have such:--Have you none?

    _Stral._                               None which can
    Interest a mere stranger.

    _Wer._                    Then forgive
    The same unknown and humble stranger, if
    He wishes to remain so to the man
    Who can have nought in common with him.

    _Stral._                                Sir,
    I will not balk your humour, though untoward:
    I only meant you service--but good night!
    Intendant, show the way! (_To_ GABOR.) Sir, you will with me?
            [_Exeunt_ STRALENHEIM _and Attendants_; IDENSTEIN _and_ GABOR.

    _Wer._ (_solus_). 'Tis he! I am taken in the toils. Before         560
    I quitted Hamburg, Giulio, his late steward,
    Informed me, that he had obtained an order
    From Brandenburg's elector, for the arrest
    Of Kruitzner (such the name I then bore) when
    I came upon the frontier; the free city
    Alone preserved my freedom--till I left
    Its walls--fool that I was to quit them! But
    I deemed this humble garb, and route obscure,
    Had baffled the slow hounds in their pursuit.
    What's to be done? He knows me not by person;                      570
    Nor could aught, save the eye of apprehension,
    Have recognised _him_, after twenty years--
    We met so rarely and so coldly in
    Our youth. But those about him! Now I can
    Divine the frankness of the Hungarian, who
    No doubt is a mere tool and spy of Stralenheim's,
    To sound and to secure me. Without means!
    Sick, poor--begirt too with the flooding rivers,
    Impassable even to the wealthy, with
    All the appliances which purchase modes                            580
    Of overpowering peril, with men's lives,--
    How can I hope! An hour ago methought
    My state beyond despair; and now, 'tis such,
    The past seems paradise. Another day,
    And I'm detected,--on the very eve
    Of honours, rights, and my inheritance,
    When a few drops of gold might save me still
    In favouring an escape.

    _Enter_ IDENSTEIN _and_ FRITZ _in conversation_.

    _Fritz_.                Immediately.

    _Iden._ I tell you, 'tis impossible.

    _Fritz_.                             It must
    Be tried, however; and if one express                              590
    Fail, you must send on others, till the answer
    Arrives from Frankfort, from the commandant.

    _Iden._ I will do what I can.

    _Fritz_.                      And recollect
    To spare no trouble; you will be repaid

    _Iden._ The Baron is retired to rest?

    _Fritz_. He hath thrown himself into an easy chair
    Beside the fire, and slumbers; and has ordered
    He may not be disturbed until eleven,
    When he will take himself to bed.

    _Iden._                           Before
    An hour is past I'll do my best to serve him.                      600

    _Fritz_. Remember!                                      [_Exit_ FRITZ.

    _Iden._            The devil take these great men! they
    Think all things made for them. Now here must I
    Rouse up some half a dozen shivering vassals
    From their scant pallets, and, at peril of
    Their lives, despatch them o'er the river towards
    Frankfort. Methinks the Baron's own experience
    Some hours ago might teach him fellow-feeling:
    But no, "it _must_" and there's an end. How now?
    Are you there, Mynheer Werner?

    _Wer._                         You have left
    Your noble guest right quickly.

    _Iden._                         Yes--he's dozing,                  610
    And seems to like that none should sleep besides.
    Here is a packet for the Commandant
    Of Frankfort, at all risks and all expenses;
    But I must not lose time: Good night!                    [_Exit_ IDEN.

    _Wer._                               "To Frankfort!"
    So, so, it thickens! Aye, "the Commandant!"
    This tallies well with all the prior steps
    Of this cool, calculating fiend, who walks
    Between me and my father's house. No doubt
    He writes for a detachment to convey me
    Into some secret fortress.--Sooner than                            620
                      [WERNER _looks around, and snatches up a knife lying
                             on a table in a recess_.
              Now I am master of myself at least.
    Hark,--footsteps! How do I know that Stralenheim
    Will wait for even the show of that authority
    Which is to overshadow usurpation?
    That he suspects me 's certain. I'm alone--
    He with a numerous train: I weak--he strong
    In gold, in numbers, rank, authority.
    I nameless, or involving in my name
    Destruction, till I reach my own domain;
    He full-blown with his titles, which impose                        630
    Still further on these obscure petty burghers
    Than they could do elsewhere. Hark! nearer still!
    I'll to the secret passage, which communicates
    With the----No! all is silent--'twas my fancy!--
    Still as the breathless interval between
    The flash and thunder:--I must hush my soul
    Amidst its perils. Yet I will retire,
    To see if still be unexplored the passage
    I wot of: it will serve me as a den
    Of secrecy for some hours, at the worst.                           640
                  [WERNER _draws a panel, and exit, closing it after him_.

                      _Enter_ GABOR _and_ JOSEPHINE.

    _Gab._ Where is your husband?

    _Jos._                        _Here_, I thought: I left him
    Not long since in his chamber. But these rooms
    Have many outlets, and he may be gone
    To accompany the Intendant.

    _Gab._                      Baron Stralenheim
    Put many questions to the Intendant on
    The subject of your lord, and, to be plain,
    I have my doubts if he means well.

    _Jos._                             Alas!
    What can there be in common with the proud
    And wealthy Baron, and the unknown Werner?

    _Gab._ That you know best.

    _Jos._                     Or, if it were so, how                  650
    Come you to stir yourself in his behalf,
    Rather than that of him whose life you saved?

    _Gab._ I helped to save him, as in peril; but
    I did not pledge myself to serve him in
    Oppression. I know well these nobles, and
    Their thousand modes of trampling on the poor.
    I have proved them; and my spirit boils up when
    I find them practising against the weak:--
    This is my only motive.

    _Jos._                  It would be
    Not easy to persuade my consort of                                 660
    Your good intentions.

    _Gab._                Is he so suspicious?

    _Jos._ He was not once; but time and troubles have
    Made him what you beheld.

    _Gab._                    I'm sorry for it.
    Suspicion is a heavy armour, and
    With its own weight impedes more than protects.
    Good night! I trust to meet with him at day-break.
                                                            [_Exit_ GABOR.

                _Re-enter_ IDENSTEIN _and some Peasants_.
                     JOSEPHINE _retires up the Hall_.

    _First Peasant_. But if I'm drowned?

    _Iden._                      Why, you will be well paid for 't,
    And have risked more than drowning for as much,
    I doubt not.

    _Second Peasant_. But our wives and families?

    _Iden._ Cannot be worse off than they are, and may                 670
    Be better.

    _Third Peasant_. I have neither, and will venture.

    _Iden._ That's right. A gallant carle, and fit to be
    A soldier. I'll promote you to the ranks
    In the Prince's body-guard--if you succeed:
    And you shall have besides, in sparkling coin,
    Two thalers.

    _Third Peasant_. No more!

    _Iden._                   Out upon your avarice!
    Can that low vice alloy so much ambition?
    I tell thee, fellow, that two thalers in
    Small change will subdivide into a treasure.
    Do not five hundred thousand heroes daily                          680
    Risk lives and souls for the tithe of one thaler?
    When had you half the sum?

    _Third Peasant_.           Never--but ne'er
    The less I must have three.

    _Iden._                     Have you forgot
    Whose vassal you were born, knave?

    _Third Peasant_.                   No--the Prince's,
    And not the stranger's.

    _Iden._                 Sirrah! in the Prince's
    Absence, I am sovereign; and the Baron is
    My intimate connection;--"Cousin Idenstein!
    (Quoth he) you'll order out a dozen villains."
    And so, you villains! troop--march--march, I say;
    And if a single dog's ear of this packet                           690
    Be sprinkled by the Oder--look to it!
    For every page of paper, shall a hide
    Of yours be stretched as parchment on a drum,
    Like Ziska's skin,[169] to beat alarm to all
    Refractory vassals, who can not effect
    Impossibilities.--Away, ye earth-worms!
                                                [_Exit, driving them out_.

    _Jos._ (_coming forward_).
    I fain would shun these scenes, too oft repeated,
    Of feudal tyranny o'er petty victims;
    I cannot aid, and will not witness such.
    Even here, in this remote, unnamed, dull spot,                     700
    The dimmest in the district's map, exist
    The insolence of wealth in poverty
    O'er something poorer still--the pride of rank
    In servitude, o'er something still more servile;
    And vice in misery affecting still
    A tattered splendour. What a state of being!
    In Tuscany, my own dear sunny land,
    Our nobles were but citizens and merchants,[170]
    Like Cosmo. We had evils, but not such
    As these; and our all-ripe and gushing valleys                     710
    Made poverty more cheerful, where each herb
    Was in itself a meal, and every vine
    Rained, as it were, the beverage which makes glad
    The heart of man; and the ne'er unfelt sun
    (But rarely clouded, and when clouded, leaving
    His warmth behind in memory of his beams)
    Makes the worn mantle, and the thin robe, less
    Oppressive than an emperor's jewelled purple.
    But, here! the despots of the north appear
    To imitate the ice-wind of their clime,                            720
    Searching the shivering vassal through his rags,
    To wring his soul--as the bleak elements
    His form. And 'tis to be amongst these sovereigns
    My husband pants! and such his pride of birth--
    That twenty years of usage, such as no
    Father born in a humble state could nerve
    His soul to persecute a son withal,
    Hath changed no atom of his early nature;
    But I, born nobly also, from my father's
    Kindness was taught a different lesson. Father!                    730
    May thy long-tried and now rewarded spirit
    Look down on us and our so long desired
    Ulric! I love my son, as thou didst me!
    What's that? Thou, Werner! can it be? and thus?

           _Enter_ WERNER _hastily, with the knife in his hand,
        by the secret panel, which he closes hurriedly after him_.

    _Wer._ (_not at first recognising her_).
    Discovered! then I'll stab--(_recognising her_). Ah! Josephine
    Why art thou not at rest?

    _Jos._                    What rest? My God!
    What doth this mean?

    _Wer._ (_showing a rouleau_).
                       Here's _gold_--_gold_, Josephine,
    Will rescue us from this detested dungeon.

    _Jos._ And how obtained?--that knife!

    _Wer._                              'Tis bloodless--_yet_.
    Away--we must to our chamber.

    _Jos._                         But whence comest thou?             740

    _Wer._ Ask not! but let us think where we shall go--
    This--this will make us way--(_showing the gold_)--I'll fit them now.

    _Jos._ I dare not think thee guilty of dishonour.

    _Wer._ Dishonour!

    _Jos._            I have said it.

    _Wer._                           Let us hence:
    'Tis the last night, I trust, that we need pass here.

    _Jos._ And not the worst, I hope.

    _Wer._                            Hope! I make _sure_.
    But let us to our chamber.

    _Jos._                     Yet one question--
    What hast thou _done_?

    _Wer._ (_fiercely_). Left one thing _undone_, which
    Had made all well: let me not think of it!

    _Jos._ Alas that I should doubt of thee!                           750

                                 ACT II.

                  SCENE I.--_A Hall in the same Palace_.

                     _Enter_ IDENSTEIN _and Others_.

    _Iden._ Fine doings! goodly doings! honest doings!
    A Baron pillaged in a Prince's palace!
    Where, till this hour, such a sin ne'er was heard of.

    _Fritz_. It hardly could, unless the rats despoiled
    The mice of a few shreds of tapestry.

    _Iden._ Oh! that I e'er should live to see this day!
    The honour of our city's gone for ever.

    _Fritz_. Well, but now to discover the delinquent:
    The Baron is determined not to lose
    This sum without a search.

    _Iden._                    And so am I.                             10

    _Fritz_. But whom do you suspect?

    _Iden._                           Suspect! all people
    Without--within--above--below--Heaven help me!

    _Fritz_. Is there no other entrance to the chamber?

    _Iden._   None whatsoever.

    _Fritz_.                  Are you sure of that?

    _Iden._ Certain. I have lived and served here since my birth,
    And if there were such, must have heard of such,
    Or seen it.

    _Fritz_.   Then it must be some one who
    Had access to the antechamber.

    _Iden._                        Doubtless.

    _Fritz_. The man called _Werner's_ poor!

    _Iden._                                 Poor as a miser[171].
    But lodged so far off, in the other wing,                           20
    By which there's no communication with
    The baron's chamber, that it can't be he.
    Besides, I bade him "good night" in the hall,
    Almost a mile off, and which only leads
    To his own apartment, about the same time
    When this burglarious, larcenous felony
    Appears to have been committed.

    _Fritz_.                        There's another,
    The stranger----

    _Iden._          The Hungarian?

    _Fritz_.                      He who helped
    To fish the baron from the Oder.

    _Iden._                          Not
    Unlikely. But, hold--might it not have been                         30
    One of the suite?

    _Fritz_.          How? _We_, sir!

    _Iden._                          No--not _you_,
    But some of the inferior knaves. You say
    The Baron was asleep in the great chair--
    The velvet chair--in his embroidered night-gown;
    His toilet spread before him, and upon it
    A cabinet with letters, papers, and
    Several rouleaux of gold; of which _one_ only
    Has disappeared:--the door unbolted, with
    No difficult access to any.

    _Fritz_.                    Good sir,
    Be not so quick; the honour of the corps                            40
    Which forms the Baron's household's unimpeached
    From steward to scullion, save in the fair way
    Of peculation; such as in accompts,
    Weights, measures, larder, cellar, buttery,
    Where all men take their prey; as also in
    Postage of letters, gathering of rents,
    Purveying feasts, and understanding with
    The honest trades who furnish noble masters[cq];
    But for your petty, picking, downright thievery,
    We scorn it as we do board wages. Then                              50
    Had one of our folks done it, he would not
    Have been so poor a spirit as to hazard
    His neck for _one_ rouleau, but have swooped all;
    Also the cabinet, if portable.

    _Iden._ There is some sense in that----

    _Fritz_.                                No, Sir, be sure
    'Twas none of our corps; but some petty, trivial
    Picker and stealer, without art or genius.
    The only question is--Who else could have
    Access, save the Hungarian and yourself?

    _Iden._ You don't mean me?

    _Fritz_.                   No, sir; I honour more                   60
    Your talents----

    _Iden._          And my principles, I hope.

    _Fritz_. Of course. But to the point: What's to be done?

    _Iden._ Nothing--but there's a good deal to be said.
    We'll offer a reward; move heaven and earth,
    And the police (though there's none nearer than
    Frankfort); post notices in manuscript
    (For we've no printer); and set by my clerk
    To read them (for few can, save he and I).
    We'll send out villains to strip beggars, and
    Search empty pockets; also, to arrest                               70
    All gipsies, and ill-clothed and sallow people.
    Prisoners we'll have at least, if not the culprit;
    And for the Baron's gold--if 'tis not found,
    At least he shall have the full satisfaction
    Of melting twice its substance in the raising
    The ghost of this rouleau. Here's alchemy
    For your Lord's losses!

    _Fritz_.                He hath found a better.

    _Iden._ _Where?_

    _Fritz_.         In a most immense inheritance.
    The late Count Siegendorf, his distant kinsman,
    Is dead near Prague, in his castle, and my Lord                     80
    Is on his way to take possession.

    _Iden._                           Was there
    No heir?

    _Fritz_. Oh, yes; but he has disappeared
    Long from the world's eye, and, perhaps, the world.
    A prodigal son, beneath his father's ban
    For the last twenty years; for whom his sire
    Refused to kill the fatted calf; and, therefore,
    If living, he must chew the husks still. But
    The Baron would find means to silence him,
    Were he to re-appear: he's politic,
    And has much influence with a certain court.                        90

    _Iden._ He's fortunate.

    _Fritz_.                'Tis true, there is a grandson,
    Whom the late Count reclaimed from his son's hands,
    And educated as his heir; but, then,
    His birth is doubtful.

    _Iden._                How so?

    _Fritz_.                      His sire made
    A left-hand, love, imprudent sort of marriage,
    With an Italian exile's dark-eyed daughter:
    Noble, they say, too; but no match for such
    A house as Siegendorf's. The grandsire ill
    Could brook the alliance; and could ne'er be brought
    To see the parents, though he took the son.                        100

    _Iden._ If he's a lad of mettle, he may yet
    Dispute your claim, and weave a web that may
    Puzzle your Baron to unravel.

    _Fritz_.                      Why,
    For mettle, he has quite enough: they say,
    He forms a happy mixture of his sire
    And grandsire's qualities,--impetuous as
    The former, and deep as the latter; but
    The strangest is, that he too disappeared
    Some months ago.

    _Iden._          The devil he did!

    _Fritz_.                          Why, yes:
    It must have been at _his_ suggestion, at                          110
    An hour so critical as was the eve
    Of the old man's death, whose heart was broken by it.

    _Iden._ Was there no cause assigned?

    _Fritz_.                             Plenty, no doubt,
    And none, perhaps, the true one. Some averred
    It was to seek his parents; some because
    The old man held his spirit in so strictly
    (But that could scarce be, for he doted on him);
    A third believed he wished to serve in war,
    But, peace being made soon after his departure,
    He might have since returned, were that the motive;                120
    A fourth set charitably have surmised,
    As there was something strange and mystic in him,
    That in the wild exuberance of his nature
    He had joined the black bands[172], who lay waste Lusatia,
    The mountains of Bohemia and Silesia,
    Since the last years of war had dwindled into
    A kind of general condottiero system
    Of bandit-warfare; each troop with its chief,
    And all against mankind.

    _Iden._                 That cannot be.
    A young heir, bred to wealth and luxury,                           130
    To risk his life and honours with disbanded
    Soldiers and desperadoes!

    _Fritz_.                  Heaven best knows!
    But there are human natures so allied
    Unto the savage love of enterprise,
    That they will seek for peril as a pleasure.
    I've heard that nothing can reclaim your Indian,
    Or tame the tiger, though their infancy
    Were fed on milk and honey. After all,
    Your Wallenstein, your Tilly and Gustavus,
    Your Bannier, and your Torstenson and Weimar[173],                 140
    Were but the same thing upon a grand scale;
    And now that they are gone, and peace proclaimed,
    They who would follow the same pastime must
    Pursue it on their own account. Here comes
    The Baron, and the Saxon stranger, who
    Was his chief aid in yesterday's escape,
    But did not leave the cottage by the Oder
    Until this morning.

                     _Enter_ STRALENHEIM _and_ ULRIC.

    _Stral._            Since you have refused
    All compensation, gentle stranger, save
    Inadequate thanks, you almost check even them,                     150
    Making me feel the worthlessness of words,
    And blush at my own barren gratitude,
    They seem so niggardly, compared with what
    Your courteous courage did in my behalf----

    _Ulr._ I pray you press the theme no further.

    _Stral._                                      But
    Can I not serve you? You are young, and of
    That mould which throws out heroes; fair in favour;
    Brave, I know, by my living now to say so;
    And, doubtlessly, with such a form and heart,
    Would look into the fiery eyes of War,                             160
    As ardently for glory as you dared
    An obscure death to save an unknown stranger,
    In an as perilous, but opposite, element.
    You are made for the service: I have served;
    Have rank by birth and soldiership, and friends,
    Who shall be yours. 'Tis true this pause of peace
    Favours such views at present scantily;
    But 'twill not last, men's spirits are too stirring;
    And, after thirty years of conflict, peace
    Is but a petty war, as the time shows us                           170
    In every forest, or a mere armed truce.
    War will reclaim his own; and, in the meantime,
    You might obtain a post, which would ensure
    A higher soon, and, by my influence, fail not
    To rise. I speak of Brandenburgh, wherein
    I stand well with the Elector[174]; in Bohemia,
    Like you, I am a stranger, and we are now
    Upon its frontier.

    _Ulr._             You perceive my garb
    Is Saxon, and, of course, my service due
    To my own Sovereign. If I must decline                             180
    Your offer, 'tis with the same feeling which
    Induced it.

    _Stral._    Why, this is mere usury!
    I owe my life to you, and you refuse
    The acquittance of the interest of the debt,
    To heap more obligations on me, till
    I bow beneath them.

    _Ulr._              You shall say so when
    I claim the payment.

    _Stral._             Well, sir, since you will not--
    You are nobly born?

    _Ulr._              I have heard my kinsmen say so.

    _Stral._ Your actions show it. Might I ask your name?

    _Ulr._ Ulric.

    _Stral._      Your house's?

    _Ulr._                     When I'm worthy of it,                  190
    I'll answer you.

    _Stral._ (_aside_). Most probably an Austrian,
    Whom these unsettled times forbid to boast
    His lineage on these wild and dangerous frontiers,
    Where the name of his country is abhorred.
                                        [_Aloud to_ FRITZ _and_ IDENSTEIN.
    So, sirs! how have ye sped in your researches?

    _Iden._ Indifferent well, your Excellency.

    _Stral._                                   Then
    I am to deem the plunderer is caught?

    _Iden._ Humph!--not exactly.

    _Stral._                     Or, at least, suspected?

    _Iden._ Oh! for that matter, very much suspected.

    _Stral._ Who may he be?

    _Iden._                 Why, don't _you_ know, my Lord?            200

    _Stral._ How should I? I was fast asleep.

    _Iden._                                   And so
    Was I--and that's the cause I know no more
    Than does your Excellency.

    _Stral._                   Dolt!

    _Iden._                         Why, if
    Your Lordship, being robbed, don't recognise
    The rogue; how should I, not being robbed, identify
    The thief among so many? In the crowd,
    May it please your Excellency, your thief looks
    Exactly like the rest, or rather better:
    'Tis only at the bar and in the dungeon,
    That wise men know your felon by his features;                     210
    But I'll engage, that if seen there but once,
    Whether he be found criminal or no,
    His face shall be so.

    _Stral._ (_to_ FRITZ). Prithee, Fritz, inform me
    What hath been done to trace the fellow?

    _Fritz_.                                 Faith!
    My Lord, not much as yet, except conjecture.

    _Stral._ Besides the loss (which, I must own, affects me
    Just now materially), I needs would find
    The villain out of public motives; for
    So dexterous a spoiler, who could creep
    Through my attendants, and so many peopled                         220
    And lighted chambers, on my rest, and snatch
    The gold before my scarce-closed eyes, would soon
    Leave bare your borough, Sir Intendant!

    _Iden._                                True;
    If there were aught to carry off, my Lord.

    _Ulr._ What is all this?

    _Stral._                 You joined us but this morning,
    And have not heard that I was robbed last night.

    _Ulr._ Some rumour of it reached me as I passed
    The outer chambers of the palace, but
    I know no further.

    _Stral._           It is a strange business:
    The Intendant can inform you of the facts.                         230

    _Iden._ Most willingly. You see----

    _Stral._ (_impatiently_).          Defer your tale,
    Till certain of the hearer's patience.

    _Iden._                                That
    Can only be approved by proofs. You see----

    _Stral._ (_again interrupting him, and addressing_ ULRIC).
    In short, I was asleep upon my chair,
    My cabinet before me, with some gold
    Upon it (more than I much like to lose,
    Though in part only): some ingenious person
    Contrived to glide through all my own attendants,
    Besides those of the place, and bore away
    A hundred golden ducats, which to find                             240
    I would be fain, and there's an end. Perhaps
    You (as I still am rather faint) would add
    To yesterday's great obligation, this,
    Though slighter, yet not slight, to aid these men
    (Who seem but lukewarm) in recovering it?

    _Ulr._ Most willingly, and without loss of time--
    (_To_ IDENSTEIN.) Come hither, mynheer!

    _Iden._                               But so much haste bodes
    Right little speed, and----

    _Ulr._                      Standing motionless
    None; so let's march: we'll talk as we go on.

    _Iden._ But----

    _Ulr._          Show the spot, and then I'll answer you.           250

    _Fritz_. I will, sir, with his Excellency's leave.

    _Stral._ Do so, and take yon old ass with you.

    _Fritz_.                                       Hence!

    _Ulr._ Come on, old oracle, expound thy riddle!
                                       [_Exit with_ IDENSTEIN _and_ FRITZ.

    _Stral._ (_solus_). A stalwart, active, soldier-looking stripling,
    Handsome as Hercules ere his first labour,
    And with a brow of thought beyond his years
    When in repose, till his eye kindles up
    In answering yours. I wish I could engage him:
    I have need of some such spirits near me now,
    For this inheritance is worth a struggle.                          260
    And though I am not the man to yield without one,
    Neither are they who now rise up between me
    And my desire. The boy, they say, 's a bold one;
    But he hath played the truant in some hour
    Of freakish folly, leaving fortune to
    Champion his claims. That's well. The father, whom
    For years I've tracked, as does the blood-hound, never
    In sight, but constantly in scent, had put me
    To fault; but _here_ I _have_ him, and that's better.
    It must be _he_! All circumstance proclaims it;                    270
    And careless voices, knowing not the cause
    Of my enquiries, still confirm it.--Yes!
    The man, his bearing, and the mystery
    Of his arrival, and the time; the account, too,
    The Intendant gave (for I have not beheld her)
    Of his wife's dignified but foreign aspect;
    Besides the antipathy with which we met,
    As snakes and lions shrink back from each other
    By secret instinct that both must be foes
    Deadly, without being natural prey to either;                      280
    All--all--confirm it to my mind. However,
    We'll grapple, ne'ertheless. In a few hours
    The order comes from Frankfort, if these waters
    Rise not the higher (and the weather favours
    Their quick abatement), and I'll have him safe
    Within a dungeon, where he may avouch
    His real estate and name; and there's no harm done,
    Should he prove other than I deem. This robbery
    (Save for the actual loss) is lucky also;
    He's poor, and that's suspicious--he's unknown,                    290
    And that's defenceless.--True, we have no proofs
    Of guilt--but what hath he of innocence?
    Were he a man indifferent to my prospects,
    In other bearings, I should rather lay
    The inculpation on the Hungarian, who
    Hath something which I like not; and alone
    Of all around, except the Intendant, and
    The Prince's household and my own, had ingress
    Familiar to the chamber.

                              _Enter_ GABOR.

                            Friend, how fare you?

    _Gab._ As those who fare well everywhere, when they                300
    Have supped and slumbered, no great matter how--
    And you, my Lord?

    _Stral._          Better in rest than purse:
    Mine inn is like to cost me dear.

    _Gab._                           I heard
    Of your late loss; but 'tis a trifle to
    One of your order.

    _Stral._           You would hardly think so,
    Were the loss yours.

    _Gab._               I never had so much
    (At once) in my whole life, and therefore am not
    Fit to decide. But I came here to seek you.
    Your couriers are turned back--I have outstripped them,
    In my return.

    _Stral._      You!--Why?

    _Gab._                  I went at daybreak,                        310
    To watch for the abatement of the river,
    As being anxious to resume my journey.
    Your messengers were all checked like myself;
    And, seeing the case hopeless, I await
    The current's pleasure.

    _Stral._                Would the dogs were in it!
    Why did they not, at least, attempt the passage?
    I ordered this at all risks.

    _Gab._                       Could you order
    The Oder to divide, as Moses did
    The Red Sea (scarcely redder than the flood
    Of the swoln stream), and be obeyed, perhaps                       320
    They might have ventured.

    _Stral._                 I must see to it:
    The knaves! the slaves!--but they shall smart for this.
                                                      [_Exit_ STRALENHEIM.

    _Gab._ (_solus_). There goes my noble, feudal, self-willed Baron!
    Epitome of what brave chivalry
    The preux Chevaliers of the good old times
    Have left us. Yesterday he would have given
    His lands[175] (if he hath any), and, still dearer,
    His sixteen quarterings, for as much fresh air
    As would have filled a bladder, while he lay
    Gurgling and foaming half way through the window                   330
    Of his o'erset and water-logged conveyance;
    And now he storms at half a dozen wretches
    Because they love their lives too! Yet, he's right:
    'Tis strange they should, when such as he may put them
    To hazard at his pleasure. Oh, thou world!
    Thou art indeed a melancholy jest!                      [_Exit_ GABOR.

          SCENE II.--_The Apartment of_ WERNER, _in the Palace_.

                      _Enter_ JOSEPHINE _and_ ULRIC.

    _Jos._ Stand back, and let me look on thee again!
    My Ulric!--my beloved!--can it be--
    After twelve years?

    _Ulr._              My dearest mother!

    _Jos._                                Yes!
    My dream is realised--how beautiful!--
    How more than all I sighed for! Heaven receive
    A mother's thanks! a mother's tears of joy!
    This is indeed thy work!--At such an hour, too,
    He comes not only as a son, but saviour.

    _Ulr._ If such a joy await me, it must double
    What I now feel, and lighten from my heart                          10
    A part of the long debt of duty, not
    Of love (for that was ne'er withheld)--forgive me!
    This long delay was not my fault.

    _Jos._                            I know it,
    But cannot think of sorrow now, and doubt
    If I e'er felt it, 'tis so dazzled from
    My memory by this oblivious transport!--
    My son!

                             _Enter_ WERNER.

    _Wer._ What have we here,--more strangers?--

    _Jos._                                       No!
    Look upon him! What do you see?

    _Wer._                          A stripling,
    For the first time--

    _Ulr._ (_kneeling_). For twelve long years, my father!

    _Wer._ Oh, God!

    _Jos._          He faints!

    _Wer._                    No--I am better now--                     20
    Ulric! (_Embraces him_.)

    _Ulr._ My father, Siegendorf!

    _Wer._ (_starting_).          Hush! boy--
    The walls may hear that name!

    _Ulr._                        What then?

    _Wer._                                  Why, then--
    But we will talk of that anon. Remember,
    I must be known here but as Werner. Come!
    Come to my arms again! Why, thou look'st all
    I should have been, and was not. Josephine!
    Sure 'tis no father's fondness dazzles me;
    But, had I seen that form amid ten thousand
    Youth of the choicest, my heart would have chosen
    This for my son!

    _Ulr._           And yet you knew me not!                           30

    _Wer._ Alas! I have had that upon my soul
    Which makes me look on all men with an eye
    That only knows the evil at first glance.

    _Ulr._ My memory served me far more fondly: I
    Have not forgotten aught; and oft-times in
    The proud and princely halls of--(I'll not name them,
    As you say that 'tis perilous)--but i' the pomp
    Of your sire's feudal mansion, I looked back
    To the Bohemian mountains many a sunset,
    And wept to see another day go down                                 40
    O'er thee and me, with those huge hills between us.
    They shall not part us more.

    _Wer._                      I know not that.
    Are you aware my father is no more?

    _Ulr._ Oh, Heavens! I left him in a green old age,
    And looking like the oak, worn, but still steady
    Amidst the elements, whilst younger trees
    Fell fast around him. 'Twas scarce three months since.

    _Wer._ Why did you leave him?

    _Jos._ (_embracing_ ULRIC). Can you ask that question?
    Is he not _here_?

    _Wer._           True; he hath sought his parents,
    And found them; but, oh! _how_, and in what state!                  50

    _Ulr._ All shall be bettered. What we have to do
    Is to proceed, and to assert our rights,
    Or rather yours; for I waive all, unless
    Your father has disposed in such a sort
    Of his broad lands as to make mine the foremost,
    So that I must prefer my claim for form:
    But I trust better, and that all is yours.

    _Wer._ Have you not heard of Stralenheim?

    _Ulr._                                   I saved
    His life but yesterday: he's here.

    _Wer._                             You saved
    The serpent who will sting us all!

    _Ulr._                             You speak                        60
    Riddles: what is this Stralenheim to us?

    _Wer._ Every thing. One who claims our father's lands:
    Our distant kinsman, and our nearest foe.

    _Ulr._ I never heard his name till now. The Count,
    Indeed, spoke sometimes of a kinsman, who,
    If his own line should fail, might be remotely
    Involved in the succession; but his titles
    Were never named before me--and what then?
    His right must yield to ours.

    _Wer._                       Aye, if at Prague:
    But here he is all-powerful; and has spread                         70
    Snares for thy father, which, if hitherto
    He hath escaped them, is by fortune, not
    By favour.

    _Ulr._      Doth he personally know you?

    _Wer._ No; but he guesses shrewdly at my person,
    As he betrayed last night; and I, perhaps,
    But owe my temporary liberty
    To his uncertainty.

    _Ulr._             I think you wrong him
    (Excuse me for the phrase); but Stralenheim
    Is not what you prejudge him, or, if so,
    He owes me something both for past and present.                     80
    I saved his life, he therefore trusts in me.
    He hath been plundered too, since he came hither:
    Is sick, a stranger, and as such not now
    Able to trace the villain who hath robbed him:
    I have pledged myself to do so; and the business
    Which brought me here was chiefly that:[176] but I
    Have found, in searching for another's dross,
    My own whole treasure--you, my parents!

    _Wer._ (_agitatedly_).                   Who
    Taught you to mouth that name of "villain?"

    _Ulr._                                      What
    More noble name belongs to common thieves?                          90

    _Wer._ Who taught you thus to brand an unknown being
    With an infernal stigma?

    _Ulr._                  My own feelings
    Taught me to name a ruffian from his deeds.

    _Wer._ Who taught you, long-sought and ill-found boy! that
    It would be safe for my own son to insult me?

    _Ulr._ I named a villain. What is there in common
    With such a being and my father?

    _Wer._                          Every thing!
    That ruffian is thy father![177]

    _Jos._                      Oh, my son!
    Believe him not--and yet!--(_her voice falters_.)

    _Ulr._ (_starts, looks earnestly at_ WERNER
    _and then says slowly_) And you avow it?

    _Wer._ Ulric, before you dare despise your father,                 100
    Learn to divine and judge his actions. Young,
    Rash, new to life, and reared in Luxury's lap,
    Is it for you to measure Passion's force,
    Or Misery's temptation? Wait--(not long,
    It cometh like the night, and quickly)--Wait!--
    Wait till, like me, your hopes are blighted[178] till
    Sorrow and Shame are handmaids of your cabin--
    Famine and Poverty your guests at table;
    Despair your bed-fellow--then rise, but not
    From sleep, and judge! Should that day e'er arrive--               110
    Should you see then the Serpent, who hath coiled
    Himself around all that is dear and noble
    Of you and yours, lie slumbering in your path,
    With but _his_ folds between your steps and happiness,
    When _he_, who lives but to tear from you name,
    Lands, life itself, lies at your mercy, with
    Chance your conductor--midnight for your mantle--
    The bare knife in your hand, and earth asleep,
    Even to your deadliest foe; and he as 'twere
    Inviting death, by looking like it, while                          120
    His death alone can save you:--Thank your God!
    If then, like me, content with petty plunder,
    You turn aside----I did so.

    _Ulr._                     But----

    _Wer._ (_abruptly_).               Hear me!
    I will not brook a human voice--scarce dare
    Listen to my own (if that be human still)--
    Hear me! you do not know this man--I do.[179]
    He's mean, deceitful, avaricious. You
    Deem yourself safe, as young and brave; but learn
    None are secure from desperation, few
    From subtilty. My worst foe, Stralenheim,                          130
    Housed in a Prince's palace, couched within
    A Prince's chamber, lay below my knife!
    An instant--a mere motion--the least impulse--
    Had swept him and all fears of mine from earth.
    He was within my power--my knife was raised--
    Withdrawn--and I'm in his:--are you not so?
    Who tells you that he knows you _not?_ Who says
    He hath not lured you here to end you? or
    To plunge you, with your parents, in a dungeon?
                                                             [_He pauses_.

    _Ulr._ Proceed--proceed!

    _Wer._                  _Me_ he hath ever known,                   140
    And hunted through each change of time--name--fortune--
    And why not _you?_ Are you more versed in men?
    He wound snares round me; flung along my path
    Reptiles, whom, in my youth, I would have spurned
    Even from my presence; but, in spurning now,
    Fill only with fresh venom. Will you be
    More patient? Ulric!--Ulric!--there are crimes
    Made venial by the occasion, and temptations
    Which nature cannot master or forbear.[180]

    _Ulr._ (_who looks first at him and then at_ JOSEPHINE).
    My mother!

    _Wer._     Ah! I thought so: you have now                          150
    Only one parent. I have lost alike
    Father and son, and stand alone.

    _Ulr._                          But stay!
                                      [WERNER _rushes out of the chamber_.

    _Jos._ (_to_ ULRIC). Follow him not, until this storm of passion
    Abates. Think'st thou, that were it well for him,
    I had not followed?

    _Ulr._             I obey you, mother,
    Although reluctantly. My first act shall not
    Be one of disobedience.

    _Jos._                  Oh! he is good!
    Condemn him not from his own mouth, but trust
    To me, who have borne so much with him, and for him,
    That this is but the surface of his soul,                          160
    And that the depth is rich in better things.

    _Ulr._ These then are but my father's principles[181]?
    My mother thinks not with him?

    _Jos._                         Nor doth he
    Think as he speaks. Alas! long years of grief
    Have made him sometimes thus.

    _Ulr._                        Explain to me
    More clearly, then, these claims of Stralenheim,
    That, when I see the subject in its bearings,
    I may prepare to face him, or at least
    To extricate you from your present perils.
    I pledge myself to accomplish this--but would                      170
    I had arrived a few hours sooner!

    _Jos._                            Aye!
    Hadst thou but done so!

            _Enter_ GABOR _and_ IDENSTEIN, _with Attendants_.

    _Gab._ (_to_ ULRIC).   I have sought you, comrade.
    So this is my reward!

    _Ulr._                What do you mean?

    _Gab._ 'Sdeath! have I lived to these years, and for this!
    (_To_ IDENSTEIN.) But for your age and folly, I would----

    _Iden._                                                   Help!
    Hands off! Touch an Intendant!

    _Gab._                        Do not think
    I'll honour you so much as save your throat
    From the Ravenstone[182] by choking you myself.

    _Iden._ I thank you for the respite: but there are
    Those who have greater need of it than me.                         180

    _Ulr._ Unriddle this vile wrangling, or----

    _Gab._                                      At once, then,
    The Baron has been robbed, and upon me
    This worthy personage has deigned to fix
    His kind suspicions--me! whom he ne'er saw
    Till yester evening.

    _Iden._              Wouldst have me suspect
    My own acquaintances? You have to learn
    That I keep better company.

    _Gab._                     You shall
    Keep the best shortly, and the last for all men,
    The worms! You hound of malice!
                                                   [GABOR _seizes on him_.

    _Ulr._ (_interfering_).          Nay, no violence:
    He's old, unarmed--be temperate, Gabor!

    _Gab._ (_letting go_ IDENSTEIN).       True:                       190
    I am a fool to lose myself because
    Fools deem me knave: it is their homage.

    _Ulr._ (_to_ IDENSTEIN).                 How
    Fare you?

    _Iden._    Help!

    _Ulr._         I _have_ helped you.

    _Iden._                            Kill him! then
    I'll say so.

    _Gab._        I am calm--live on!

    _Iden._                          That's more
    Than you shall do, if there be judge or judgment
    In Germany. The Baron shall decide!

    _Gab._ Does _he_ abet you in your accusation?

    _Iden._ Does he not?

    _Gab._              Then next time let him go sink
    Ere I go hang for snatching him from drowning.
    But here he comes!

                           _Enter_ STRALENHEIM.

    _Gab._ (_goes up to him_). My noble Lord, I'm here!                200

    _Stral._ Well, sir!

    _Gab._              Have you aught with me?

    _Stral._                                   What should I
    Have with you?

    _Gab._        You know best, if yesterday's
    Flood has not washed away your memory;
    But that's a trifle. I stand here accused,
    In phrases not equivocal, by yon
    Intendant, of the pillage of your person
    Or chamber:--is the charge your own or his?

    _Stral._ I accuse no man.

    _Gab._                    Then you acquit me, Baron?

    _Stral._ I know not whom to accuse, or to acquit,
    Or scarcely to suspect.

    _Gab._                  But you at least                           210
    Should know whom _not_ to suspect. I am insulted--
    Oppressed here by these menials, and I look
    To you for remedy--teach them their duty!
    To look for thieves at home were part of it,
    If duly taught; but, in one word, if I
    Have an accuser, let it be a man
    Worthy to be so of a man like me.
    I am your equal.

    _Stral._         You!

    _Gab._               Aye, sir; and, for
    Aught that you know, superior; but proceed--
    I do not ask for hints, and surmises,                              220
    And circumstance, and proof: I know enough
    Of what I have done for you, and what you owe me,
    To have at least waited your payment rather
    Than paid myself, had I been eager of
    Your gold. I also know, that were I even
    The villain I am deemed, the service rendered
    So recently would not permit you to
    Pursue me to the death, except through shame,
    Such as would leave your scutcheon but a blank.
    But this is nothing: I demand of you                               230
    Justice upon your unjust servants, and
    From your own lips a disavowal of
    All sanction of their insolence: thus much
    You owe to the unknown, who asks no more,
    And never thought to have asked so much.

    _Stral._                                This tone
    May be of innocence.

    _Gab._              'Sdeath! who dare doubt it,
    Except such villains as ne'er had it?

    _Stral._                              You
    Are hot, sir.

    _Gab._        Must I turn an icicle
    Before the breath of menials, and their master[cr]?

    _Stral._ Ulric! you know this man; I found him in                  240
    _Your_ company.

    _Gab._         We found _you_ in the Oder;
    Would we had left you there!

    _Stral._                    I give you thanks, sir.

    _Gab._ I've earned them; but might have earned more from others,
    Perchance, if I had left you to your fate.

    _Stral._ Ulric! you know this man?

    _Gab._                             No more than you do
    If he avouches not my honour.

    _Ulr._                        I
    Can vouch your courage, and, as far as my
    Own brief connection led me, honour.

    _Stral._                             Then
    I'm satisfied.

    _Gab._ (_ironically_). Right easily, methinks.
    What is the spell in his asseveration                              250
    More than in mine?

    _Stral._          I merely said that _I_
    Was satisfied--not that you are absolved.

    _Gab._ Again! Am I accused or no?

    _Stral._                          Go to!
    You wax too insolent. If circumstance
    And general suspicion be against you,
    Is the fault mine? Is't not enough that I
    Decline all question of your guilt or innocence?

    _Gab._ My Lord, my Lord, this is mere cozenage[183],
    A vile equivocation; you well know
    Your doubts are certainties to all around you--                    260
    Your looks a voice--your frowns a sentence; you
    Are practising your power on me--because
    You have it; but beware! you know not whom
    You strive to tread on.

    _Stral._               Threat'st thou?

    _Gab._                                Not so much
    As you accuse. You hint the basest injury,
    And I retort it with an open warning.

    _Stral._ As you have said, 'tis true I owe you something,
    For which you seem disposed to pay yourself.

    _Gab._ Not with your gold.

    _Stral._                   With bootless insolence.
                                       [_To his Attendants and_ IDENSTEIN.
    You need not further to molest this man,                           270
    But let him go his way. Ulric, good morrow!
                         [_Exit_ STRALENHEIM, IDENSTEIN, _and Attendants_.

    _Gab._ (_following_). I'll after him and----

    _Ulr._ (_stopping him_).                    Not a step.

    _Gab._                                                 Who shall
    Oppose me?

    _Ulr._    Your own reason, with a moment's

    _Gab._   Must I bear this?

    _Ulr._                   Pshaw! we all must bear
    The arrogance of something higher than
    Ourselves--the highest cannot temper Satan,
    Nor the lowest his vicegerents upon earth.
    I've seen you brave the elements, and bear
    Things which had made this silkworm[184] cast his skin--
    And shrink you from a few sharp sneers and words?                  280

    _Gab._ Must I bear to be deemed a thief? If 'twere
    A bandit of the woods, I could have borne it--
    There's something daring in it:--but to steal
    The moneys of a slumbering man!--

    _Ulr._                            It seems, then,
    You are _not_ guilty.

    _Gab._                Do I hear aright?
    _You_ too!

    _Ulr._     I merely asked a simple question.

    _Gab._ If the judge asked me, I would answer "No"--
    To you I answer _thus_.                                   [_He draws_.

    _Ulr._ (_drawing_).     With all my heart!

    _Jos._ Without there! Ho! help! help!--Oh, God!
    here's murder!                         [_Exit_ JOSEPHINE, _shrieking_.

          GABOR _and_ ULRIC _fight_. GABOR _is disarmed just as_
           STRALENHEIM, JOSEPHINE, IDENSTEIN, _etc., re-enter_.

    _Jos._ Oh! glorious Heaven! He's safe!

    _Stral._ (_to_ JOSEPHINE).           _Who's_ safe!

    _Jos._                                            My----

    _Ulr._ (_interrupting her with a stern look, and turning
    afterwards to_ STRALENHEIM).                              Both!    290
    Here's no great harm done.

    _Stral._                  What hath caused all this?

    _Ulr._ _You_, Baron, I believe; but as the effect
    Is harmless, let it not disturb you.--Gabor!
    There is your sword; and when you bare it next,
    Let it not be against your _friends_.

                 [ULRIC _pronounces the last words slowly and emphatically
                         in a low voice to_ GABOR.

    _Gab._                               I thank you
    Less for my life than for your counsel.

    _Stral._                                These
    Brawls must end here.

    _Gab._ (_taking his sword_). They _shall_. You've wronged me, Ulric,
    More with your unkind thoughts than sword: I would
    The last were in my bosom rather than
    The first in yours. I could have borne yon noble's                 300
    Absurd insinuations--ignorance
    And dull suspicion are a part of his
    Entail will last him longer than his lands--
    But I may fit _him_ yet:--you have vanquished me.
    I was the fool of passion to conceive
    That I could cope with you, whom I had seen
    Already proved by greater perils than
    Rest in this arm. We may meet by and by,
    However--but in friendship.                             [_Exit_ GABOR.

    _Stral._                    I will brook
    No more! This outrage following upon his insults,                  310
    Perhaps his guilt, has cancelled all the little
    I owed him heretofore for the so-vaunted
    Aid which he added to your abler succour.
    Ulric, you are not hurt?--

    _Ulr._                     Not even by a scratch.

    _Stral._ (_to_ IDENSTEIN). Intendant! take your measures to secure
    Yon fellow: I revoke my former lenity.
    He shall be sent to Frankfort with an escort,
    The instant that the waters have abated.

    _Iden._ Secure him! He hath got his sword again----
    And seems to know the use on't; 'tis his trade,                    320
    Belike;--_I'm_ a civilian.

    _Stral._                   Fool! are not
    Yon score of vassals dogging at your heels
    Enough to seize a dozen such? Hence! after him!

    _Ulr._ Baron, I do beseech you!

    _Stral._                        I must be
    Obeyed. No words!

    _Iden._           Well, if it must be so--
    March, vassals! I'm your leader, and will bring
    The rear up: a wise general never should
    Expose his precious life--on which all rests.
    I like that article of war.
                                       [_Exit_ IDENSTEIN _and Attendants_.

    _Stral._                    Come hither,
    Ulric; what does that woman here? Oh! now                          330
    I recognise her, 'tis the stranger's wife
    Whom they _name_ "Werner."

    _Ulr._                    'Tis his name.

    _Stral._                                Indeed!
    Is not your husband visible, fair dame?--

    _Jos._ Who seeks him?

    _Stral._             No one--for the present: but
    I fain would parley, Ulric, with yourself

    _Ulr._ I will retire with you.

    _Jos._                         Not so:
    You are the latest stranger, and command
    All places here.
    (_Aside to_ ULRIC, _as she goes out_.) O Ulric! have a care--
    Remember what depends on a rash word!

    _Ulr._ (_to_ JOSEPHINE).            Fear not!--
                                                        [_Exit_ JOSEPHINE.

    _Stral._ Ulric, I think that I may trust you;                      340
    You saved my life--and acts like these beget
    Unbounded confidence.

    _Ulr._                Say on.

    _Stral._                     Mysterious
    And long-engendered circumstances (not
    To be now fully entered on) have made
    This man obnoxious--perhaps fatal to me.

    _Ulr._ Who? Gabor, the Hungarian?

    _Stral._                         No--this "Werner"--
    With the false name and habit.

    _Ulr._                       How can this be?
    He is the poorest of the poor--and yellow
    Sickness sits caverned in his hollow eye[cs]:
    The man is helpless.

    _Stral._            He is--'tis no matter;--                       350
    But if he be the man I deem (and that
    He is so, all around us here--and much
    That is not here--confirm my apprehension)
    He must be made secure ere twelve hours further.

    _Ulr._ And what have I to do with this?

    _Stral._                                I have sent
    To Frankfort, to the Governor, my friend,
    (I have the authority to do so by
    An order of the house of Brandenburgh),
    For a fit escort--but this cursed flood
    Bars all access, and may do for some hours.                        360

    _Ulr._ It is abating.

    _Stral._              That is well.

    _Ulr._                             But how
    Am I concerned?

    _Stral._        As one who did so much
    For me, you cannot be indifferent to
    That which is of more import to me than
    The life you rescued.--Keep your eye on _him_!
    The man avoids me, knows that I now know him.--
    Watch him!--as you would watch the wild boar when
    He makes against you in the hunter's gap--
    Like him he must be speared.

    _Ulr._                       Why so?

    _Stral._                            He stands
    Between me and a brave inheritance!                                370
    Oh! could you see it! But you shall.

    _Ulr._                               I hope so.

    _Stral._ It is the richest of the rich Bohemia,
    Unscathed by scorching war. It lies so near
    The strongest city, Prague, that fire and sword
    Have skimmed it lightly: so that now, besides
    Its own exuberance, it bears double value
    Confronted with whole realms far and near
    Made deserts.

    _Ulr._       You describe it faithfully.

    _Stral._ Aye--could you see it, you would say so--but,
    As I have said, you shall.

    _Ulr._                     I accept the omen.                      380

    _Stral._ Then claim a recompense from it and me,
    Such as _both_ may make worthy your acceptance
    And services to me and mine for ever.

    _Ulr._ And this sole, sick, and miserable wretch--
    This way-worn stranger--stands between you and
    This Paradise?--(As Adam did between
    The devil and his)--[_Aside_].

    _Stral._                      He doth.

    _Ulr._                               Hath he no right?

    _Stral._ Right! none. A disinherited prodigal,
    Who for these twenty years disgraced his lineage
    In all his acts--but chiefly by his marriage,                      390
    And living amidst commerce-fetching burghers,
    And dabbling merchants, in a mart of Jews.

    _Ulr._ He has a wife, then?

    _Stral._                    You'd be sorry to
    Call such your mother. You have seen the woman
    He _calls_ his wife.

    _Ulr._               Is she not so?

    _Stral._                           No more
    Than he's your father:--an Italian girl,
    The daughter of a banished man, who lives
    On love and poverty with this same Werner.

    _Ulr._ They are childless, then?

    _Stral._                        There is or was a bastard,
    Whom the old man--the grandsire (as old age                        400
    Is ever doting) took to warm his bosom,
    As it went chilly downward to the grave:
    But the imp stands not in my path--he has fled,
    No one knows whither; and if he had not,
    His claims alone were too contemptible
    To stand.--Why do you smile?

    _Ulr._                      At your vain fears:
    A poor man almost in his grasp--a child
    Of doubtful birth--can startle a grandee!

    _Stral._ All's to be feared, where all is to be gained.

    _Ulr._ True; and aught done to save or to obtain it.               410

    _Stral._ You have harped the very string next to my heart[185].
    I may depend upon you?

    _Ulr._                'Twere too late
    To doubt it.

    _Stral._ Let no foolish pity shake
    Your bosom (for the appearance of the man
    Is pitiful)--he is a wretch, as likely
    To have robbed me as the fellow more suspected,
    Except that circumstance is less against him;
    He being lodged far off, and in a chamber
    Without approach to mine; and, to say truth,
    I think too well of blood allied to mine,                          420
    To deem he would descend to such an act:
    Besides, he was a soldier, and a brave one
    Once--though too rash.

    _Ulr._                And they, my Lord, we know
    By our experience, never plunder till
    They knock the brains out first--which makes them heirs,
    Not thieves. The dead, who feel nought, can lose nothing,
    Nor e'er be robbed: their spoils are a bequest--
    No more.

    _Stral._ Go to! you are a wag. But say
    I may be sure you'll keep an eye on this man,
    And let me know his slightest movement towards                     430
    Concealment or escape.

    _Ulr._                You may be sure
    You yourself could not watch him more than I
    Will be his sentinel.

    _Stral._             By this you make me
    Yours, and for ever.

    _Ulr._               Such is my intention.                  [_Exeunt_.

                                 ACT III.

          SCENE I.--_A Hall in the same Palace, from whence the
                          secret Passage leads_.

                       _Enter_ WERNER _and_ GABOR.

    _Gab._ Sir, I have told my tale: if it so please you
    To give me refuge for a few hours, well--
    If not, I'll try my fortune elsewhere.

    _Wer._                                 How
    Can I, so wretched, give to Misery
    A shelter?--wanting such myself as much
    As e'er the hunted deer a covert----

    _Gab._                               Or
    The wounded lion his cool cave. Methinks
    You rather look like one would turn at bay,
    And rip the hunter's entrails.

    _Wer._                         Ah!

    _Gab._                            I care not
    If it be so, being much disposed to do                              10
    The same myself. But will you shelter me?
    I am oppressed like you--and poor like you--

    _Wer._ (_abruptly_). Who told you that I was disgraced?

    _Gab._ No one; nor did I say _you_ were so: with
    Your poverty my likeness ended; but
    I said _I_ was so--and would add, with truth,
    As undeservedly as _you_.

    _Wer._                    Again!
    As _I_?

    _Gab._ Or any other honest man.
    What the devil would you have? You don't believe me
    Guilty of this base theft?

    _Wer._                     No, no--I cannot.                        20

    _Gab._ Why that's my heart of honour! yon young gallant--
    Your miserly Intendant and dense noble--
    All--all suspected me; and why? because
    I am the worst clothed, and least named amongst them;
    Although, were Momus'[186] lattice in your breasts,
    My soul might brook to open it more widely
    Than theirs: but thus it is--you poor and helpless--
    Both still more than myself.

    _Wer._                      How know you that?

    _Gab._ You're right: I ask for shelter at the hand
    Which I call helpless; if you now deny it,                          30
    I were well paid. But you, who seem to have proved
    The wholesome bitterness of life, know well,
    By sympathy, that all the outspread gold
    Of the New World the Spaniard boasts about
    Could never tempt the man who knows its worth,
    Weighed at its proper value in the balance,
    Save in such guise (and there I grant its power,
    Because I feel it,) as may leave no nightmare
    Upon his heart o' nights.

    _Wer._                    What do you mean?

    _Gab._ Just what I say; I thought my speech was plain:              40
    You are no thief--nor I--and, as true men,
    Should aid each other.

    _Wer._                 It is a damned world, sir.

    _Gab._ So is the nearest of the two next, as
    The priests say (and no doubt they should know best),
    Therefore I'll stick by this--as being both
    To suffer martyrdom, at least with such
    An epitaph as larceny upon my tomb.
    It is but a night's lodging which I crave;
    To-morrow I will try the waters, as
    The dove did--trusting that they have abated.                       50

    _Wer._ Abated? Is there hope of that?

    _Gab._                                There was
    At noontide.

    _Wer._       Then we may be safe.

    _Gab._                           Are _you_
    In peril?

    _Wer._    Poverty is ever so.

    _Gab._ That I know by long practice. Will you not
    Promise to make mine less?

    _Wer._                     Your poverty?

    _Gab._ No--you don't look a leech for that disorder;
    I meant my peril only: you've a roof,
    And I have none; I merely seek a covert.

    _Wer._ Rightly; for how should such a wretch as I
    Have gold?

    _Gab._    Scarce honestly, to say the truth on't,                   60
    Although I almost wish you had the Baron's.

    _Wer._ Dare you insinuate?

    _Gab._                     What?

    _Wer._                          Are you aware
    To whom you speak?

    _Gab._             No; and I am not used
    Greatly to care. (_A noise heard without_.) But hark! they come!

    _Wer._                                                  Who come?

    _Gab._ The Intendant and his man-hounds after me:
    I'd face them--but it were in vain to expect
    Justice at hands like theirs. Where shall I go?
    But show me any place. I do assure you,
    If there be faith in man, I am most guiltless:
    Think if it were your own case!

    _Wer._ (_aside_).              Oh, just God!                        70
    Thy hell is not hereafter! Am I dust still?

    _Gab._ I see you're moved; and it shows well in you:
    I may live to requite it.

    _Wer._                    Are you not
    A spy of Stralenheim's?

    _Gab._                   Not I! and if
    I were, what is there to espy in you?
    Although, I recollect, his frequent question
    About you and your spouse might lead to some
    Suspicion; but you best know--what--and why.
    I am his deadliest foe.

    _Wer._                   _You?_

    _Gab._                         After such
    A treatment for the service which in part                           80
    I rendered him, I am his enemy:
    If you are not his friend you will assist me.

    _Wer._ I will.

    _Gab._         But how?

    _Wer._ (_showing the panel_). There is a secret spring:
    Remember, I discovered it by chance,
    And used it but for safety.

    _Gab._                     Open it,
    And I will use it for the same.

    _Wer._                          I found it,
    As I have said: it leads through winding walls,
    (So thick as to bear paths within their ribs,
    Yet lose no jot of strength or stateliness,)
    And hollow cells, and obscure niches, to                            90
    I know not whither; you must not advance:
    Give me your word.

    _Gab._             It is unecessary:
    How should I make my way in darkness through
    A Gothic labyrinth of unknown windings?

    _Wer._ Yes, but who knows to what place it may lead?
    _I_ know not--(mark you!)--but who knows it might not
    Lead even into the chamber of your foe?
    So strangely were contrived these galleries
    By our Teutonic fathers in old days,
    When man built less against the elements                           100
    Than his next neighbour. You must not advance
    Beyond the two first windings; if you do
    (Albeit I never passed them,) I'll not answer
    For what you may be led to.

    _Gab._                      But I will.
    A thousand thanks!

    _Wer._             You'll find the spring more obvious
    On the other side; and, when you would return,
    It yields to the least touch.

    _Gab._                        I'll in--farewell!
                                     [GABOR _goes in by the secret panel_.

    _Wer._ (_solus_). What have I done? Alas! what _had_ I done
    Before to make this fearful? Let it be
    Still some atonement that I save the man,                          110
    Whose sacrifice had saved perhaps my own--
    They come! to seek elsewhere what is before them!

                     _Enter_ IDENSTEIN _and Others_.

    _Iden._ Is he not here? He must have vanished then
    Through the dim Gothic glass by pious aid
    Of pictured saints upon the red and yellow
    Casements, through which the sunset streams like sunrise
    On long pearl-coloured beards and crimson crosses.
    And gilded crosiers, and crossed arms, and cowls,
    And helms, and twisted armour, and long swords,
    All the fantastic furniture of windows                             120
    Dim with brave knights and holy hermits, whose
    Likeness and fame alike rest in some panes
    Of crystal, which each rattling wind proclaims
    As frail as any other life or glory.
    He's gone, however.

    _Wer._              Whom do you seek?

    _Iden._                              A villain.

    _Wer._ Why need you come so far, then?

    _Iden._                               In the search
    Of him who robbed the Baron.

    _Wer._                       Are you sure
    You have divined the man?

    _Iden._                   As sure as you
    Stand there: but where's he gone?

    _Wer._                            Who?

    _Iden._                               He we sought.

    _Wer._ You see he is not here.

    _Iden._                        And yet we traced him               130
    Up to this hall. Are you accomplices?
    Or deal you in the black art?

    _Wer._                        I deal plainly,
    To many men the blackest.

    _Iden._                   It may be
    I have a question or two for yourself
    Hereafter; but we must continue now
    Our search for t'other.

    _Wer._                  You had best begin
    Your inquisition now: I may not be
    So patient always.

    _Iden._            I should like to know,
    In good sooth, if you really are the man
    That Stralenheim's in quest of.

    _Wer._                          Insolent!                          140
    Said you not that he was not here?

    _Iden._                           Yes, _one_;
    But there's another whom he tracks more keenly,
    And soon, it may be, with authority
    Both paramount to his and mine. But come!
    Bustle, my boys! we are at fault.
                                       [_Exit_ IDENSTEIN _and Attendants_.

    _Wer._                            In what
    A maze hath my dim destiny involved me!
    And one base sin hath done me less ill than
    The leaving undone one far greater. Down,
    Thou busy devil, rising in my heart!
    Thou art too late! I'll nought to do with blood.                   150

                              _Enter_ ULRIC.

    _Ulr._ I sought you, father.

    _Wer._                       Is't not dangerous?

    _Ulr._ No; Stralenheim is ignorant of all
    Or any of the ties between us: more--
    He sends me here a spy upon your actions,
    Deeming me wholly his.

    _Wer._                 I cannot think it:
    'Tis but a snare he winds about us both,
    To swoop the sire and son at once.

    _Ulr._                             I cannot
    Pause in each petty fear, and stumble at
    The doubts that rise like briers in our path,
    But must break through them, as an unarmed carle                   160
    Would, though with naked limbs, were the wolf rustling
    In the same thicket where he hewed for bread.
    Nets are for thrushes, eagles are not caught so:
    We'll overfly or rend them.

    _Wer._                      Show me _how?_

    _Ulr._ Can you not guess?

    _Wer._                    I cannot.

    _Ulr._                            That is strange.
    Came the thought ne'er into your mind _last night_?

    _Wer._ I understand you not.

    _Ulr._                      Then we shall never
    More understand each other. But to change
    The topic----

    _Wer._        You mean to _pursue_ it, as
    'Tis of our safety.

    _Ulr._              Right; I stand corrected.                      170
    I see the subject now more clearly, and
    Our general situation in its bearings.
    The waters are abating; a few hours
    Will bring his summoned myrmidons from Frankfort,
    When you will be a prisoner, perhaps worse,
    And I an outcast, bastardised by practice
    Of this same Baron to make way for him.

    _Wer._ And now your remedy! I thought to escape
    By means of this accursed gold; but now
    I dare not use it, show it, scarce look on it.                     180
    Methinks it wears upon its face my guilt
    For motto, not the mintage of the state;
    And, for the sovereign's head, my own begirt
    With hissing snakes, which curl around my temples,
    And cry to all beholders, Lo! a villain!

    _Ulr._ You must not use it, at least now; but take
    This ring.                               [_He gives_ WERNER _a jewel_.

    _Wer._     A gem! It was my father's!

    _Ulr._                               And
    As such is now your own. With this you must
    Bribe the Intendant for his old caleche
    And horses to pursue your route at sunrise,                        190
    Together with my mother.

    _Wer._                   And leave you,
    So lately found, in peril too?

    _Ulr._                         Fear nothing!
    The only fear were if we fled together,
    For that would make our ties beyond all doubt.
    The waters only lie in flood between
    This burgh and Frankfort: so far's in our favour
    The route on to Bohemia, though encumbered,
    Is not impassable; and when you gain
    A few hours' start, the difficulties will be
    The same to your pursuers. Once beyond                             200
    The frontier, and you're safe.

    _Wer._                         My noble boy!

    _Ulr._ Hush! hush! no transports: we'll indulge in them
    In Castle Siegendorf! Display no gold:
    Show Idenstein the gem (I know the man,
    And have looked through him): it will answer thus
    A double purpose. Stralenheim lost _gold_--
    _No_ jewel: therefore it could _not_ be his;
    And then the man who was possest of this
    Can hardly be suspected of abstracting
    The Baron's coin, when he could thus convert                       210
    This ring to more than Stralenheim has lost
    By his last night's slumber. Be not over timid
    In your address, nor yet too arrogant,
    And Idenstein will serve you.

    _Wer._                        I will follow
    In all things your direction.

    _Ulr._                       I would have
    Spared you the trouble; but had I appeared
    To take an interest in you, and still more
    By dabbling with a jewel in your favour,
    All had been known at once.

    _Wer._                      My guardian angel!
    This overpays the past. But how wilt thou                          220
    Fare in our absence?

    _Ulr._                Stralenheim knows nothing
    Of me as aught of kindred with yourself.
    I will but wait a day or two with him
    To lull all doubts, and then rejoin my father.

    _Wer._ To part no more!

    _Ulr._                  I know not that; but at
    The least we'll meet again once more.

    _Wer._                                My boy!
    My friend! my only child, and sole preserver!
    Oh, do not hate me!

    _Ulr._             Hate my father!

    _Wer._                            Aye,
    My father hated me. Why not my son?

    _Ulr._ Your father knew you not as I do.

    _Wer._                                   Scorpions                 230
    Are in thy words! Thou know me? in this guise
    Thou canst not know me, I am not myself;
    Yet (hate me not) I will be soon.

    _Ulr._                            I'll _wait!_
    In the mean time be sure that all a son
    Can do for parents shall be done for mine.

    _Wer._ I see it, and I feel it; yet I feel
    Further--that you despise me.

    _Ulr._                        Wherefore should I?

    _Wer._ Must I repeat my humiliation?

    _Ulr._                                No!
    I have fathomed it and you. But let us talk
    Of this no more. Or, if it must be ever,                           240
    Not _now_. Your error has redoubled all
    The present difficulties of our house
    At secret war with that of Stralenheim:
    All we have now to think of is to baffle
    HIM. I have shown _one_ way.

    _Wer._                      The only one,
    And I embrace it, as I did my son,
    Who showed _himself_ and father's _safety_ in
    One day.

    _Ulr._   You _shall_ be safe; let that suffice.
    Would Stralenheim's appearance in Bohemia
    Disturb your right, or mine, if once we were                       250
    Admitted to our lands?

    _Wer._                  Assuredly,
    Situate as we are now; although the first
    Possessor might, as usual, prove the strongest--
    Especially the next in blood.

    _Ulr._                        _Blood_! 'tis
    A word of many meanings; in the veins,
    And out of them, it is a different thing--
    And so it should be, when the same in blood
    (As it is called) are aliens to each other,
    Like Theban brethren:[187] when a part is bad,
    A few spilt ounces purify the rest.                                260

    _Wer._ I do not apprehend you.

    _Ulr._                         That may be--
    And should, perhaps--and yet--but get ye ready;
    You and my mother must away to-night.
    Here comes the Intendant: sound him with the gem;
    'Twill sink into his venal soul like lead
    Into the deep, and bring up slime and mud,
    And ooze, too, from the bottom, as the lead doth
    With its greased understratum;[188] but no less
    Will serve to warn our vessels through these shoals.
    The freight is rich, so heave the line in time!                    270
    Farewell! I scarce have time, but yet your _hand_,
    My father!----

    _Wer._         Let me embrace thee!

    _Ulr._                             We may be
    Observed: subdue your nature to the hour!
    Keep off from me as from your foe!

    _Wer._                            Accursed
    Be he who is the stifling cause which smothers
    The best and sweetest feeling of our hearts;
    At such an hour too!

    _Ulr._              Yes, curse--it will ease you!
    Here is the Intendant.

                            _Enter_ IDENSTEIN.

    _Ulr._                 Master Idenstein,
    How fare you in your purpose? Have you caught
    The rogue?

    _Iden._     No, faith!

    _Ulr._                Well, there are plenty more:                 280
    You may have better luck another chase.
    Where is the Baron?

    _Iden._             Gone back to his chamber:
    And now I think on't, asking after you
    With nobly-born impatience.

    _Ulr._                     Your great men
    Must be answered on the instant, as the bound
    Of the stung steed replies unto the spur:
    'Tis well they have horses, too; for if they had not,
    I fear that men must draw their chariots, as
    They say kings did Sesostris[189].

    _Iden._                        Who was he?

    _Ulr._ An old Bohemian--an imperial gipsy.                         290

    _Iden._ A gipsy or Bohemian, 'tis the same,
    For they pass by both names. And was he one?

    _Ulr._ I've heard so; but I must take leave. Intendant,
    Your servant!--Werner (_to_ WERNER _slightly_), if that be your name,
    Yours.                                                  [_Exit_ ULRIC.

    _Iden._ A well-spoken, pretty-faced young man!
    And prettily behaved! He knows his station,
    You see, sir: how he gave to each his due

    _Wer._      I perceived it, and applaud
    His just discernment and your own.

    _Iden._                            That's well--
    That's very well. You also know your place, too;                   300
    And yet I don't know that _I_ know your place.

    _Wer._ (_showing the ring_).
    Would this assist your knowledge?

    _Iden._                           How!--What!--Eh!
    A jewel!

    _Wer._   'Tis your own on one condition.

    _Iden._ Mine!--Name it!

    _Wer._                  That hereafter you permit me
    At thrice its value to redeem it: 'tis
    A family ring.

    _Iden._        A family!--_yours!_--a gem!
    I'm breathless!

    _Wer._          You must also furnish me,
    An hour ere daybreak, with all means to quit
    This place.

    _Iden._      But is it real? Let me look on it:
    _Diamond_, by all that's glorious!

    _Wer._                             Come, I'll trust you:           310
    You have guessed, no doubt, that I was born above
    My present seeming.

    _Iden._            I can't say I did,
    Though this looks like it: this is the true breeding
    Of gentle blood!

    _Wer._           I have important reasons
    For wishing to continue privily
    My journey hence.

    _Iden._           So then _you are_ the man
    Whom Stralenheim's in quest of?

    _Wer._                          I am not;
    But being taken for him might conduct
    So much embarrassment to me just now,
    And to the Baron's self hereafter--'tis                            320
    To spare both that I would avoid all bustle.

    _Iden._ Be you the man or no, 'tis not my business;
    Besides, I never could obtain the half
    From this proud, niggardly noble, who would raise
    The country for some missing bits of coin,
    And never offer a precise reward--[ct]
    But _this!_--another look!

    _Wer._                     Gaze on it freely;
    At day-dawn it is yours.

    _Iden._                  Oh, thou sweet sparkler!
    Thou more than stone of the philosopher!
    Thou touch-stone of Philosophy herself!                            330
    Thou bright eye of the Mine! thou loadstar of
    The soul! the true magnetic Pole to which
    All hearts point duly north, like trembling needles!
    Thou flaming Spirit of the Earth! which, sitting
    High on the Monarch's Diadem, attractest
    More worship than the majesty who sweats
    Beneath the crown which makes his head ache, like
    Millions of hearts which bleed to lend it lustre!
    Shalt thou be mine? I am, methinks, already
    A little king, a lucky alchymist!--                                340
    A wise magician, who has bound the devil
    Without the forfeit of his soul. But come,
    Werner, or what else?

    _Wer._                Call me Werner still;
    You may yet know me by a loftier title.

    _Iden._ I do believe in thee! thou art the spirit
    Of whom I long have dreamed in a low garb.--
    But come, I'll serve thee; thou shalt be as free
    As air, despite the waters; let us hence:
    I'll show thee I am honest--(oh, thou jewel!)
    Thou shalt be furnished, Werner, with such means                   350
    Of flight, that if thou wert a snail, not birds[cu]
    Should overtake thee.--Let me gaze again!
    I have a foster-brother in the mart
    Of Hamburgh skilled in precious stones. How many
    Carats may it weigh?--Come, Werner, I will wing thee.

                   SCENE II.--STRALENHEIM'S _Chamber_.

                         STRALENHEIM _and_ FRITZ.

    _Fritz_. All's ready, my good Lord!

    _Stral._                            I am not sleepy,
    And yet I must to bed: I fain would say
    To rest, but something heavy on my spirit,
    Too dull for wakefulness, too quick for slumber,
    Sits on me as a cloud along the sky,
    Which will not let the sunbeams through, nor yet
    Descend in rain and end, but spreads itself
    'Twixt earth and heaven, like envy between man
    And man, an everlasting mist:--I will
    Unto my pillow.

    _Fritz_.        May you rest there well!                            10

    _Stral._ I feel, and fear, I shall.

    _Fritz_.                            And wherefore fear?

    _Stral._ I know not why, and therefore do fear more,
    Because an undescribable----but 'tis
    All folly. Were the locks as I desired
    Changed, to-day, of this chamber? for last night's
    Adventure makes it needful.

    _Fritz_.                    Certainly,
    According to your order, and beneath
    The inspection of myself and the young Saxon
    Who saved your life. I think they call him "Ulric."

    _Stral._ You _think!_ you supercilious slave! what right            20
    Have you to _tax your_ memory, which should be
    Quick, proud, and happy to retain the _name_
    Of him who saved your master, as a litany
    Whose daily repetition marks your duty.--
    Get hence; "_You think_" indeed! you, who stood still
    Howling and dripping on the bank, whilst I
    Lay dying, and the stranger dashed aside
    The roaring torrent, and restored me to
    Thank him--and despise you. "_You think!_" and scarce
    Can recollect his name! I will not waste                            30
    More words on you. Call me betimes.

    _Fritz_.                            Good night!
    I trust to-morrow will restore your Lordship
    To renovated strength and temper.                 [_The scene closes_.

                    SCENE III.--_The secret Passage_.

    _Gab._ (_solus_).                  Four--
    Five--six hours have I counted, like the guard
    Of outposts, on the never-merry clock,
    That hollow tongue[190] of time, which, even when
    It sounds for joy, takes something from enjoyment
    With every clang. 'Tis a perpetual knell,
    Though for a marriage-feast it rings: each stroke
    Peals for a hope the less; the funeral note
    Of Love deep-buried, without resurrection,
    In the grave of Possession; while the knoll[191]                    10
    Of long-lived parents finds a jovial echo
    To triple time in the son's ear.
                                     I'm cold--
    I'm dark;--I've blown my fingers--numbered o'er
    And o'er my steps--and knocked my head against
    Some fifty buttresses--and roused the rats
    And bats in general insurrection, till
    Their cursed pattering feet and whirling wings
    Leave me scarce hearing for another sound.
    A light! It is at distance (if I can
    Measure in darkness distance): but it blinks                        20
    As through a crevice or a key-hole, in
    The inhibited direction: I must on,
    Nevertheless, from curiosity.
    A distant lamp-light is an incident
    In such a den as this. Pray Heaven it lead me
    To nothing that may tempt me! Else--Heaven aid me
    To obtain or to escape it! Shining still!
    Were it the star of Lucifer himself,
    Or he himself girt with its beams, I could
    Contain no longer. Softly: mighty well!                             30
    That corner's turned--so--ah! no;--right! it draws
    Nearer. Here is a darksome angle--so,
    That's weathered.--Let me pause.--Suppose it leads
    Into some greater danger than that which
    I have escaped--no matter, 'tis a new one;
    And novel perils, like fresh mistresses,
    Wear more magnetic aspects:--I will on,
    And be it where it may--I have my dagger
    Which may protect me at a pinch.--Burn still,
    Thou little light! Thou art my _ignis fatuus!_                      40
    My stationary Will-o'-the-wisp![192]--So! so!
    He hears my invocation, and fails not.            [_The scene closes_.

                          SCENE IV.--_A Garden_.

                             _Enter_ WERNER.

    _Wer._ I could not sleep--and now the hour's at hand!
    All's ready. Idenstein has kept his word;
    And stationed in the outskirts of the town,
    Upon the forest's edge, the vehicle
    Awaits us. Now the dwindling stars begin
    To pale in heaven; and for the last time I
    Look on these horrible walls. Oh! never, never
    Shall I forget them. Here I came most poor,
    But not dishonoured: and I leave them with
    A stain,--if not upon my name, yet in                               10
    My heart!--a never-dying canker-worm,
    Which all the coming splendour of the lands,
    And rights, and sovereignty of Siegendorf
    Can scarcely lull a moment. I must find
    Some means of restitution, which would ease
    My soul in part: but how, without discovery?--
    It must be done, however; and I'll pause
    Upon the method the first hour of safety.
    The madness of my misery led to this
    Base infamy; repentance must retrieve it:                           20
    I will have nought of Stralenheim's upon
    My spirit, though he would grasp all of mine;
    Lands, freedom, life,--and yet he sleeps as soundly
    Perhaps, as infancy[193], with gorgeous curtains
    Spread for his canopy, o'er silken pillows,
    Such as when----Hark! what noise is that? Again!
    The branches shake; and some loose stones have fallen
    From yonder terrace.
                                     [ULRIC _leaps down from the terrace_.
                        Ulric! ever welcome!
    Thrice welcome now! this filial----

    _Ulr._                              Stop! before
    We approach, tell me----

    _Wer._                   Why look you so?

    _Ulr._                                   Do I                       30
    Behold my father, or----

    _Wer._                   What?

    _Ulr._                        An assassin?

    _Wer._ Insane or insolent!

    _Ulr._                     Reply, sir, as
    You prize your life, or mine!

    _Wer._                       To what must I

    _Ulr._ Are you or are you not the assassin
    Of Stralenheim?

    _Wer._          I never was as yet
    The murderer of any man. What mean you?

    _Ulr._ Did not you _this_ night (as the night before)
    Retrace the secret passage? Did you not
    _Again_ revisit Stralenheim's chamber? and----
                                                          [ULRIC _pauses_.

    _Wer._ Proceed.

    _Ulr._         _Died_ he not by your hand?

    _Wer._                                    Great God!                40

    _Ulr._ You are innocent, then! my father's innocent!
    Embrace me! Yes,--your tone--your look--yes, yes,--
    Yet _say_ so.

    _Wer._        If I e'er, in heart or mind,
    Conceived deliberately such a thought,
    But rather strove to trample back to hell
    Such thoughts--if e'er they glared a moment through
    The irritation of my oppressed spirit--
    May Heaven be shut for ever from my hopes,
    As from mine eyes!

    _Ulr._            But Stralenheim is dead.

    _Wer._ 'Tis horrible! 'tis hideous, as 'tis hateful!--              50
    But what have I to do with this?

    _Ulr._                           No bolt
    Is forced; no violence can be detected,
    Save on his body. Part of his own household
    Have been alarmed; but as the Intendant is
    Absent, I took upon myself the care
    Of mustering the police. His chamber has,
    Past doubt, been entered secretly. Excuse me,
    If nature----

    _Wer._       Oh, my boy! what unknown woes
    Of dark fatality, like clouds, are gathering
    Above our house!

    _Ulr._          My father! I acquit you!                            60
    But will the world do so? will even the judge,
    If--but you must away this instant.

    _Wer._                              No!
    I'll face it. Who shall dare suspect me?

    _Ulr._                                   Yet
    You had _no_ guests--_no_ visitors--no life
    Breathing around you, save my mother's?

    _Wer._                                  Ah!
    The Hungarian?

    _Ulr._        He is gone! he disappeared
    Ere sunset.

    _Wer._       No; I hid him in that very
    Concealed and fatal gallery.

    _Ulr._                      _There_ I'll find him.
                                                        [ULRIC _is going_.

    _Wer._ It is too late: he had left the palace ere
    I quitted it. I found the secret panel                              70
    Open, and the doors which lead from that hall
    Which masks it: I but thought he had snatched the silent
    And favourable moment to escape
    The myrmidons of Idenstein, who were
    Dogging him yester-even.

    _Ulr._                  You reclosed
    The panel?

    _Wer._     Yes; and not without reproach
    (And inner trembling for the avoided peril)
    At his dull heedlessness, in leaving thus
    His shelterer's asylum to the risk
    Of a discovery.

    _Ulr._         You are sure you closed it?                          80

    _Wer._ Certain.

    _Ulr._         That's well; but had been better, if
    You ne'er had turned it to a den for----                 [_He pauses_.

    _Wer._                                   Thieves!
    Thou wouldst say: I must bear it, and deserve it;
    But not----

    _Ulr._      No, father; do not speak of this:
    This is no hour to think of petty crimes,
    But to prevent the consequence of great ones.
    Why would you shelter this man?

    _Wer._                          Could I shun it?
    A man pursued by my chief foe; disgraced
    For my own crime: a victim to _my_ safety,
    Imploring a few hours' concealment from                             90
    The very wretch who was the cause he needed
    Such refuge. Had he been a wolf, I could not
    Have in such circumstances thrust him forth.

    _Ulr._ And like the wolf he hath repaid you. But
    It is too late to ponder thus:--you must
    Set out ere dawn. I will remain here to
    Trace the murderer, if 'tis possible.

    _Wer._ But this my sudden flight will give the Moloch
    Suspicion: two new victims in the lieu
    Of one, if I remain. The fled Hungarian,                           100
    Who seems the culprit, and----

    _Ulr._                        Who _seems?_ _Who_ else
    Can be so?

    _Wer._     Not _I_, though just now you doubted--
    You, my _son!_--doubted----

    _Ulr._                      And do you doubt of him
    The fugitive?

    _Wer._        Boy! since I fell into
    The abyss of crime (though not of _such_ crime), I,
    Having seen the innocent oppressed for me,
    May doubt even of the guilty's guilt. Your heart
    Is free, and quick with virtuous wrath to accuse
    Appearances; and views a criminal
    In Innocence's shadow, it may be,                                  110
    Because 'tis dusky.

    _Ulr._               And if I do so,
    What will mankind, who know you not, or knew
    But to oppress? You must not stand the hazard.
    Away!--I'll make all easy. Idenstein
    Will for his own sake and his jewel's hold
    His peace--he also is a partner in
    Your flight--moreover----

    _Wer._                    Fly! and leave my name
    Linked with the Hungarian's, or, preferred as poorest,
    To bear the brand of bloodshed?

    _Ulr._                         Pshaw! leave any thing
    Except our fathers' sovereignty and castles,                       120
    For which you have so long panted, and in vain!
    What _name?_ You have _no name_, since that you bear
    Is feigned.

    _Wer._      Most true: but still I would not have it
    Engraved in crimson in men's memories,
    Though in this most obscure abode of men----
    Besides, the search----

    _Ulr._                I will provide against
    Aught that can touch you. No one knows you here
    As heir of Siegendorf: if Idenstein
    Suspects, 'tis _but suspicion_, and he is
    A fool: his folly shall have such employment,                      130
    Too, that the unknown Werner shall give way
    To nearer thoughts of self. The laws (if e'er
    Laws reached this village) are all in abeyance
    With the late general war of thirty years,
    Or crushed, or rising slowly from the dust,
    To which the march of armies trampled them.
    Stralenheim, although noble, is unheeded
    _Here_, save as _such_--without lands, influence,
    Save what hath perished with him. Few prolong
    A week beyond their funeral rites their sway                       140
    O'er men, unless by relatives, whose interest
    Is roused: such is not here the case; he died
    Alone, unknown,--a solitary grave,
    Obscure as his deserts, without a scutcheon,
    Is all he'll have, or wants. If _I_ discover
    The assassin, 'twill be well--if not, believe me,
    None else; though all the full-fed train of menials
    May howl above his ashes (as they did
    Around him in his danger on the Oder),
    Will no more stir a finger _now_ than _then_.                      150
    Hence! hence! I must not hear your answer.--Look!
    The stars are almost faded, and the grey
    Begins to grizzle the black hair of night.
    You shall not answer:--Pardon me that I
    Am peremptory: 'tis your son that speaks,
    Your long-lost, late-found son.--Let's call my mother!
    Softly and swiftly step, and leave the rest
    To me: I'll answer for the event as far
    As regards _you_, and that is the chief point,
    As my first duty, which shall be observed.                         160
    We'll meet in Castle Siegendorf--once more
    Our banners shall be glorious! Think of that
    Alone, and leave all other thoughts to me,
    Whose youth may better battle with them--Hence!
    And may your age be happy!--I will kiss
    My mother once more, then Heaven's speed be with you!

    _Wer._ This counsel's safe--but is it honourable?

    _Ulr._ To save a father is a child's chief honour.

                                 ACT IV.

   SCENE I.--_A Gothic Hall in the Castle of Siegendorf, near Prague_.

          _Enter_ ERIC _and_ HENRICK, _Retainers of the Count_.

    _Eric_. So, better times are come at last; to these
    Old walls new masters and high wassail--both
    A long desideratum.

    _Hen._              Yes, for _masters_,
    It might be unto those who long for novelty,
    Though made by a new grave: but, as for wassail,
    Methinks the old Count Siegendorf maintained
    His feudal hospitality as high
    As e'er another Prince of the empire.

    _Eric_.                               Why
    For the mere cup and trencher, we no doubt
    Fared passing well; but as for merriment                            10
    And sport, without which salt and sauces season
    The cheer but scantily, our sizings were
    Even of the narrowest.

    _Hen._                 The old count loved not
    The roar of revel; are you sure that _this_ does?

    _Eric_. As yet he hath been courteous as he's bounteous,
    And we all love him.

    _Hen._               His reign is as yet
    Hardly a year o'erpast its honeymoon,
    And the first year of sovereigns is bridal:
    Anon, we shall perceive his real sway
    And moods of mind.

    _Eric_.            Pray Heaven he keep the present!                 20
    Then his brave son, Count Ulric--there's a knight!
    Pity the wars are o'er!

    _Hen._                  Why so?

    _Eric_.                        Look on him!
    And answer that yourself.

    _Hen._                    He's very youthful,
    And strong and beautiful as a young tiger.

    _Eric_. That's not a faithful vassal's likeness.

    _Hen._                                           But
    Perhaps a true one.

    _Eric_.              Pity, as I said,
    The wars are over: in the hall, who like
    Count Ulric for a well-supported pride,
    Which awes, but yet offends not? in the field,
    Who like him with his spear in hand, when gnashing                  30
    His tusks, and ripping up, from right to left,
    The howling hounds, the boar makes for the thicket?
    Who backs a horse, or bears a hawk, or wears
    A sword like him? Whose plume nods knightlier?

    _Hen._ No one's, I grant you. Do not fear, if war
    Be long in coming, he is of that kind
    Will make it for himself, if he hath not
    Already done as much.

    _Eric_.               What do you mean?

    _Hen._ You can't deny his train of followers
    (But few our native fellow-vassals born                             40
    On the domain) are such a sort of knaves
    As----                                                      [_Pauses_.

    _Eric_. What?

    _Hen._       The war (you love so much) leaves living.
    Like other parents, she spoils her worst children.

    _Eric_. Nonsense! they are all brave iron-visaged fellows,
    Such as old Tilly loved.

    _Hen._                   And who loved Tilly?
    Ask that at Magdebourg[194]--or, for that matter,
    Wallenstein either;--they are gone to----

    _Eric_.                                   Rest!
    But what beyond 'tis not ours to pronounce.

    _Hen._ I wish they had left us something of their rest:
    The country (nominally now at peace)                                50
    Is over-run with--God knows who: they fly
    By night, and disappear with sunrise; but
    Leave us no less desolation, nay, even more,
    Than the most open warfare.

    _Eric_.                    But Count Ulric--
    What has all this to do with him?

    _Hen._                            With him!
    He----might prevent it. As you say he's fond
    Of war, why makes he it not on those marauders?

    _Eric_. You'd better ask himself.

    _Hen._                            I would as soon
    Ask the lion why he laps not milk.

    _Eric_. And here he comes!

    _Hen._                    The devil! you'll hold your tongue?       60

    _Eric_. Why do you turn so pale?

    _Hen._                          'Tis nothing--but
    Be silent.

    _Eric_.    I will, upon what you have said.

    _Hen._ I assure you I meant nothing,--a mere sport
    Of words, no more; besides, had it been otherwise,
    He is to espouse the gentle Baroness
    Ida of Stralenheim, the late Baron's heiress;
    And she, no doubt, will soften whatsoever
    Of fierceness the late long intestine wars
    Have given all natures, and most unto those
    Who were born in them, and bred up upon                             70
    The knees of Homicide; sprinkled, as it were,
    With blood even at their baptism. Prithee, peace
    On all that I have said!

                       _Enter_ ULRIC _and_ RODOLPH.

                            Good morrow, count.

    _Ulr._ Good morrow, worthy Henrick. Eric, is
    All ready for the chase?

    _Eric_.                 The dogs are ordered
    Down to the forest, and the vassals out
    To beat the bushes, and the day looks promising.
    Shall I call forth your Excellency's suite?
    What courser will you please to mount?

    _Ulr._                                 The dun,

    _Eric_.   I fear he scarcely has recovered                          80
    The toils of Monday: 'twas a noble chase:
    You speared _four_ with your own hand.

    _Ulr._                                 True, good Eric;
    I had forgotten--let it be the grey, then,
    Old Ziska: he has not been out this fortnight.

    _Eric_. He shall be straight caparisoned. How many
    Of your immediate retainers shall
    Escort you?

    _Ulr._      I leave that to Weilburgh, our
    Master of the horse.                                     [_Exit_ ERIC.

    _Rod._                      My Lord!

    _Ulr._                              The news
    Is awkward from the----                  [RODOLPH _points to_ HENRICK.
                           How now, Henrick? why
    Loiter you here?

    _Hen._          For your commands, my Lord.                         90

    _Ulr._ Go to my father, and present my duty,
    And learn if he would aught with me before
    I mount.                                              [_Exit_ HENRICK.
             Rodolph, our friends have had a check
    Upon the frontiers of Franconia[195], and
    'Tis rumoured that the column sent against them
    Is to be strengthened. I must join them soon.

    _Rod._ Best wait for further and more sure advices.

    _Ulr._ I mean it--and indeed it could not well
    Have fallen out at a time more opposite
    To all my plans.

    _Rod._            It will be difficult                             100
    To excuse your absence to the Count your father.

    _Ulr._ Yes, but the unsettled state of our domain
    In high Silesia will permit and cover
    My journey. In the mean time, when we are
    Engaged in the chase, draw off the eighty men
    Whom Wolffe leads--keep the forests on your route:
    You know it well?

    _Rod._           As well as on that night
    When we----

    _Ulr._     We will not speak of that until
    We can repeat the same with like success:
    And when you have joined, give Rosenberg this letter.              110
                                                        [_Gives a letter_.
    Add further, that I have sent this slight addition
    To our force with you and Wolffe, as herald of
    My coming, though I could but spare them ill
    At this time, as my father loves to keep
    Full numbers of retainers round the castle,
    Until this marriage, and its feasts and fooleries,
    Are rung out with its peal of nuptial nonsense.

    _Rod._ I thought you loved the lady Ida?

    _Ulr._                                   Why,
    I do so--but it follows not from that
    I would bind in my youth and glorious years,                       120
    So brief and burning, with a lady's zone,
    Although 'twere that of Venus:--but I love her,
    As woman should be loved--fairly and solely.

    _Rod._ And constantly?

    _Ulr._                 I think so; for I love
    Nought else.--But I have not the time to pause
    Upon these gewgaws of the heart. Great things
    We have to do ere long. Speed! speed! good Rodolph!

    _Rod._ On my return, however, I shall find
    The Baroness Ida lost in Countess Siegendorf?

    _Ulr._ Perhaps: my father wishes it, and, sooth,                   130
    'Tis no bad policy: this union with
    The last bud of the rival branch at once
    Unites the future and destroys the past.

    _Rod._ Adieu.

    _Ulr._        Yet hold--we had better keep together
    Until the chase begins; then draw thou off,
    And do as I have said.

    _Rod._                 I will. But to
    Return--'twas a most kind act in the count
    Your father to send up to Konigsberg
    For this fair orphan of the Baron, and
    To hail her as his daughter.

    _Ulr._                       Wondrous kind!                        140
    Especially as little kindness till
    Then grew between them.

    _Rod._                  The late Baron died
    Of a fever, did he not?

    _Ulr._                 How should I know?

    _Rod._ I have heard it whispered there was something strange
    About his death--and even the place of it
    Is scarcely known.

    _Ulr._             Some obscure village on
    The Saxon or Silesian frontier.

    _Rod._                           He
    Has left no testament--no farewell words?

    _Ulr._ I am neither confessor nor notary,
    So cannot say.

    _Rod._         Ah! here's the lady Ida.                            150

                         _Enter_ IDA STRALENHEIM.

    _Ulr._ You are early, my sweet cousin!

    _Ida._                                 Not _too_ early,
    Dear Ulric, if I do not interrupt you.
    Why do you call me "_Cousin?_"

    _Ulr._ (_smiling_).            Are we not so?

    _Ida._ Yes, but I do not like the name; methinks
    It sounds so cold, as if you thought upon
    Our pedigree, and only weighed our blood.

    _Ulr._ (_starting_).                       Blood!

    _Ida._ Why does yours start from your cheeks?

    _Ulr._                                        Aye! doth it?

    _Ida._ It doth--but no! it rushes like a torrent
    Even to your brow again.

    _Ulr._ (_recovering himself_). And if it fled,
    It only was because your presence sent it                          160
    Back to my heart, which beats for you, sweet Cousin!

    _Ida._   "Cousin" again.

    _Ulr._                  Nay, then, I'll call you sister.

    _Ida._ I like that name still worse.--Would we had ne'er
    Been aught of kindred!

    _Ulr._ (_gloomily_). Would we never had!

    _Ida._ Oh, heavens! and can _you wish that?_

    _Ulr._                                       Dearest Ida!
    Did I not echo your own wish?

    _Ida._                        Yes, Ulric,
    But then I wished it not with such a glance,
    And scarce knew what I said; but let me be
    Sister, or cousin, what you will, so that
    I still to you am something.

    _Ulr._                      You shall be                           170

    _Ida._        And you to _me are_ so already;
    But I can wait.

    _Ulr._          Dear Ida!

    _Ida._                  Call me Ida,
    _Your_ Ida, for I would be yours, none else's--
    Indeed I have none else left, since my poor father--
                                                            [_She pauses_.

    _Ulr._ You have _mine_--you have _me_.

    _Ida._                                 Dear Ulric, how I wish
    My father could but view my happiness,
    Which wants but this!

    _Ulr._               Indeed!

    _Ida._                       You would have loved him,
    He you; for the brave ever love each other:
    His manner was a little cold, his spirit
    Proud (as is birth's prerogative); but under                       180
    This grave exterior----Would you had known each other!
    Had such as you been near him on his journey,
    He had not died without a friend to soothe
    His last and lonely moments.

    _Ulr._                       Who says _that?_

    _Ida._ What?

    _Ulr._       That he _died alone_.

    _Ida._                            The general rumour,
    And disappearance of his servants, who
    Have ne'er returned: that fever was most deadly
    Which swept them all away.

    _Ulr._                     If they were near him,
    He could not die neglected or alone.

    _Ida._ Alas! what is a menial to a death-bed,                      190
    When the dim eye rolls vainly round for what
    It loves?--They say he died of a fever.

    _Ulr._                                _Say!_
    It _was_ so.

    _Ida._       I sometimes dream otherwise.

    _Ulr._ All dreams are false.

    _Ida._                       And yet I see him as
    I see you.

    _Ulr._    _Where?_

    _Ida._            In sleep--I see him lie
    Pale, bleeding, and a man with a raised knife
    Beside him.

    _Ulr._       But you do not see his _face?_

    _Ida_ (_looking at him_). No! Oh, my God! do _you?_

    _Ulr._                                              Why do you ask?

    _Ida._ Because you look as if you saw a murderer!

    _Ulr._ (_agitatedly_).
    Ida, this is mere childishness; your weakness                      200
    Infects me, to my shame: but as all feelings
    Of yours are common to me, it affects me.
    Prithee, sweet child, change----

    _Ida._                           Child, indeed! I have
    Full fifteen summers!                               [_A bugle sounds_.

    _Rod._                Hark, my Lord, the bugle!

    _Ida_ (_peevishly to_ RODOLPH).
    Why need you tell him that? Can he not hear it
    Without your echo?

    _Rod._            Pardon me, fair Baroness!

    _Ida._ I will not pardon you, unless you earn it
    By aiding me in my dissuasion of
    Count Ulric from the chase to-day.

    _Rod._                             You will not,
    Lady, need aid of mine.

    _Ulr._                  I must not now                             210
    Forgo it.

    _Ida._    But you shall!

    _Ulr._                  _Shall!_

    _Ida._                          Yes, or be
    No true knight.--Come, dear Ulric! yield to me
    In this, for this one day: the day looks heavy,
    And you are turned so pale and ill.

    _Ulr._                              You jest.

    _Ida._ Indeed I do not:--ask of Rodolph.

    _Rod._                                   Truly,
    My Lord, within this quarter of an hour
    You have changed more than e'er I saw you change
    In years.

    _Ulr._    'Tis nothing; but if 'twere, the air
    Would soon restore me. I'm the true cameleon,
    And live but on the atmosphere;[196] your feasts                   220
    In castle halls, and social banquets, nurse not
    My spirit--I'm a forester and breather
    Of the steep mountain-tops,[197] where I love all
    The eagle loves.

    _Ida._          Except his prey, I hope.

    _Ulr._ Sweet Ida, wish me a fair chase, and I
    Will bring you six boars' heads for trophies home.

    _Ida._ And will you not stay, then? You shall not go!
    Come! I will sing to you.

    _Ulr._                    Ida, you scarcely
    Will make a soldier's wife.

    _Ida._                      I do not wish
    To be so; for I trust these wars are over,                         230
    And you will live in peace on your domains.

                  _Enter_ WERNER _as_ COUNT SIEGENDORF.

    _Ulr._ My father, I salute you, and it grieves me
    With such brief greeting.--You have heard our bugle;
    The vassals wait.

    _Sieg._           So let them.--You forget
    To-morrow is the appointed festival
    In Prague[198] for peace restored. You are apt to follow
    The chase with such an ardour as will scarce
    Permit you to return to-day, or if
    Returned, too much fatigued to join to-morrow
    The nobles in our marshalled ranks.

    _Ulr._                             You, Count,                     240
    Will well supply the place of both--I am not
    A lover of these pageantries.

    _Sieg._                       No, Ulric;
    It were not well that you alone of all
    Our young nobility----

    _Ida._                 And far the noblest
    In aspect and demeanour.

    _Sieg._ (_to_ IDA).     True, dear child,
    Though somewhat frankly said for a fair damsel.--
    But, Ulric, recollect too our position,
    So lately reinstated in our honours.
    Believe me, 'twould be marked in any house,
    But most in _ours_, that ONE should be found wanting               250
    At such a time and place. Besides, the Heaven
    Which gave us back our own, in the same moment
    It spread its peace o'er all, hath double claims
    On us for thanksgiving: first, for our country;
    And next, that we are here to share its blessings.

    _Ulr._ (_aside_). Devout, too! Well, sir, I obey at once.
    (_Then aloud to a servant_.)
    Ludwig, dismiss the train without!
                                                           [_Exit_ LUDWIG.
    _Ida._                             And so
    You yield, at once, to him what I for hours
    Might supplicate in vain.

    _Sieg._ (_smiling_).      You are not jealous
    Of me, I trust, my pretty rebel! who                               260
    Would sanction disobedience against all
    Except thyself? But fear not; thou shalt rule him
    Hereafter with a fonder sway and firmer.

    _Ida._ But I should like to govern _now_.

    _Sieg._                                   You shall,
    Your _harp_, which by the way awaits you with
    The Countess in her chamber. She complains
    That you are a sad truant to your music:
    She attends you.

    _Ida._           Then good morrow, my kind kinsmen!
    Ulric, you'll come and hear me?

    _Ulr._                          By and by.

    _Ida._ Be sure I'll sound it better than your bugles;              270
    Then pray you be as punctual to its notes:
    I'll play you King Gustavus' march.

    _Ulr._                              And why not
    Old Tilly's?

    _Ida._       Not that monster's! I should think
    My harp-strings rang with groans, and not with music,
    Could aught of _his_ sound on it:--but come quickly;
    Your mother will be eager to receive you.                 [_Exit_ IDA.

    _Sieg._ Ulric, I wish to speak with you alone.

    _Ulr._ My time's your vassal.--
    (_Aside to_ RODOLPH.) Rodolph, hence! and do
    As I directed: and by his best speed
    And readiest means let Rosenberg reply.                            280

    _Rod._ Count Siegendorf, command you aught? I am bound
    Upon a journey past the frontier.

    _Sieg._ (_starts_).                Ah!--
    Where? on _what_ frontier?

    _Rod._                    The Silesian, on
    My way--(_Aside to_ ULRIC.)--_Where_ shall I say?

    _Ulr._ (_aside to_ RODOLPH).         To Hamburgh.
                             (_Aside to himself_). That
    Word will, I think, put a firm padlock on
    His further inquisition.

    _Rod._                   Count, to Hamburgh.

    _Sieg._ (_agitated_). Hamburgh! No, I have nought to do there, nor
    Am aught connected with that city. Then
    God speed you!

    _Rod._         Fare ye well, Count Siegendorf!
                                                          [_Exit_ RODOLPH.

    _Sieg._ Ulric, this man, who has just departed, is                 290
    One of those strange companions whom I fain
    Would reason with you on.

    _Ulr._                    My Lord, he is
    Noble by birth, of one of the first houses
    In Saxony.

    _Sieg._    I talk not of his birth,
    But of his bearing. Men speak lightly of him.

    _Ulr._ So they will do of most men. Even the monarch
    Is not fenced from his chamberlain's slander, or
    The sneer of the last courtier whom he has made
    Great and ungrateful.

    _Sieg._               If I must be plain,
    The world speaks more than lightly of this Rodolph:                300
    They say he is leagued with the "black bands" who still
    Ravage the frontier.

    _Ulr._               And will you believe
    The world?

    _Sieg._    In this case--yes.

    _Ulr._                       In _any_ case,
    I thought you knew it better than to take
    An accusation for a sentence.

    _Sieg._                       Son!
    I understand you: you refer to----but
    My destiny has so involved about me
    Her spider web, that I can only flutter
    Like the poor fly, but break it not. Take heed,
    Ulric; you have seen to what the passions led me:                  310
    Twenty long years of misery and famine
    Quenched them not--twenty thousand more, perchance,
    Hereafter (or even here in _moments_ which
    Might date for years, did Anguish make the dial),
    May not obliterate or expiate
    The madness and dishonour of an instant.
    Ulric, be warned by a father!--I was not
    By mine, and you behold me!

    _Ulr._                     I behold
    The prosperous and beloved Siegendorf,
    Lord of a Prince's appanage, and honoured                          320
    By those he rules and those he ranks with.

    _Sieg._                                    Ah!
    Why wilt thou call me prosperous, while I fear
    For thee? Beloved, when thou lovest me not!
    All hearts but one may beat in kindness for me--
    But if my son's is cold!----

    _Ulr._                       Who _dare_ say that?

    _Sieg._ None else but I, who see it--_feel_ it--keener
    Than would your adversary, who dared say so,
    Your sabre in his heart! But mine survives
    The wound.

    _Ulr._     You err. My nature is not given
    To outward fondling: how should it be so,                          330
    After twelve years' divorcement from my parents?

    _Sieg._ And did not _I_ too pass those twelve torn years
    In a like absence? But 'tis vain to urge you--
    Nature was never called back by remonstrance.
    Let's change the theme. I wish you to consider
    That these young violent nobles of high name,
    But dark deeds (aye, the darkest, if all Rumour
    Reports be true), with whom thou consortest,
    Will lead thee----

    _Ulr._ (_impatiently_). I'll be _led_ by no man.

    _Sieg._                                         Nor
    Be leader of such, I would hope: at once                           340
    To wean thee from the perils of thy youth
    And haughty spirit, I have thought it well
    That thou shouldst wed the lady Ida--more
    As thou appear'st to love her.

    _Ulr._                        I have said
    I will obey your orders, were they to
    Unite with Hecate--can a son say more?

    _Sieg._ He says too much in saying this. It is not
    The nature of thine age, nor of thy blood,
    Nor of thy temperament, to talk so coolly,
    Or act so carelessly, in that which is                             350
    The bloom or blight of all men's happiness,
    (For Glory's pillow is but restless, if
    Love lay not down his cheek there): some strong bias,
    Some master fiend is in thy service, to
    Misrule the mortal who believes him slave,
    And makes his every thought subservient; else
    Thou'dst say at once--"I love young Ida, and
    Will wed her;" or, "I love her not, and all
    The powers on earth shall never make me."--So
    Would _I_ have answered.

    _Ulr._                  Sir, _you_ wed for love.                   360

    _Sieg._ I did, and it has been my only refuge
    In many miseries.

    _Ulr._            Which miseries
    Had never been but for this love-match.

    _Sieg._                                 Still
    Against your age and nature! Who at twenty
    E'er answered thus till now?

    _Ulr._                       Did you not warn me
    Against your own example?

    _Sieg._                  Boyish sophist!
    In a word, do you love, or love not, Ida?

    _Ulr._ What matters it, if I am ready to
    Obey you in espousing her?

    _Sieg._                    As far
    As you feel, nothing--but all life for her.                        370
    She's young--all-beautiful--adores you--is
    Endowed with qualities to give happiness,
    Such as rounds common life into a dream
    Of something which your poets cannot paint,
    And (if it were not wisdom to love virtue),
    For which Philosophy might barter Wisdom;
    And giving so much happiness, deserves
    A little in return. I would not have her
    Break her heart with a man who has none to break!
    Or wither on her stalk like some pale rose                         380
    Deserted by the bird she thought a nightingale,
    According to the Orient tale.[199] She is----

    _Ulr._ The daughter of dead Stralenheim, your foe:
    I'll wed her, ne'ertheless; though, to say truth,
    Just now I am not violently transported
    In favour of such unions.

    _Sieg._                   But she loves you.

    _Ulr._ And I love her, and therefore would think _twice_.

    _Sieg._ Alas! Love never did so.

    _Ulr._                           Then 'tis time
    He should begin, and take the bandage from
    His eyes, and look before he leaps; till now                       390
    He hath ta'en a jump i' the dark.

    _Sieg._                           But you consent?

    _Ulr._ I did, and do.

    _Sieg._               Then fix the day.

    _Ulr._                                 Tis usual,
    And, certes, courteous, to leave that to the lady.

    _Sieg._ _I_ will engage for _her_.

    _Ulr._                            So will not _I_
    For any woman: and as what I fix,
    I fain would see unshaken, when she gives
    Her answer, I'll give mine.

    _Sieg._                     But 'tis your office
    To woo.

    _Ulr._ Count, 'tis a marriage of your making,
    So be it of your wooing; but to please you,
    I will now pay my duty to my mother,                               400
    With whom, you know, the lady Ida is.--
    What would you have? You have forbid my stirring
    For manly sports beyond the castle walls,
    And I obey; you bid me turn a chamberer,
    To pick up gloves, and fans, and knitting-needles,
    And list to songs and tunes, and watch for smiles,
    And smile at pretty prattle, and look into
    The eyes of feminine, as though they were
    The stars receding early to our wish
    Upon the dawn of a world-winning battle--                          410
    What can a son or man do more?                          [_Exit_ ULRIC.

    _Sieg._ (_solus_).             Too much!--
    Too much of duty, and too little love!
    He pays me in the coin he owes me not:
    For such hath been my wayward fate, I could not
    Fulfil a parent's duties by his side
    Till now; but love he owes me, for my thoughts
    Ne'er left him, nor my eyes longed without tears
    To see my child again,--and now I have found him!
    But how! obedient, but with coldness; duteous
    In my sight, but with carelessness; mysterious--                   420
    Abstracted--distant--much given to long absence,
    And where--none know--in league with the most riotous
    Of our young nobles; though, to do him justice,
    He never stoops down to their vulgar pleasures;
    Yet there's some tie between them which I can not
    Unravel. They look up to him--consult him--
    Throng round him as a leader: but with me
    He hath no confidence! Ah! can I hope it
    After--what! doth my father's curse descend
    Even to my child? Or is the Hungarian near                         430
    To shed more blood? or--Oh! if it should be!
    Spirit of Stralenheim, dost thou walk these walls
    To wither him and his--who, though they slew not,
    Unlatched the door of Death for thee? 'Twas not
    Our fault, nor is our sin: thou wert our foe,
    And yet I spared thee when my own destruction
    Slept with thee, to awake with thine awakening!
    And only took--Accursed gold! thou liest
    Like poison in my hands; I dare not use thee,
    Nor part from thee; thou camest in such a guise,                   440
    Methinks thou wouldst contaminate all hands
    Like mine. Yet I have done, to atone for thee,
    Thou villanous gold! and thy dead master's doom,
    Though he died not by me or mine, as much
    As if he were my brother! I have ta'en
    His orphan Ida--cherished her as one
    Who will be mine.

                          _Enter an_ ATTENDANT.

    _Atten._          The abbot, if it please
    Your Excellency, whom you sent for, waits
    Upon you.                                           [_Exit_ ATTENDANT.

                        _Enter the_ PRIOR ALBERT.

    _Prior_. Peace be with these walls, and all
    Within them!

    _Sieg._      Welcome, welcome, holy father!                        450
    And may thy prayer be heard!--all men have need
    Of such, and I----

    _Prior_.            Have the first claim to all
    The prayers of our community. Our convent,
    Erected by your ancestors, is still
    Protected by their children.

    _Sieg._                      Yes, good father;
    Continue daily orisons for us
    In these dim days of heresies and blood,
    Though the schismatic Swede, Gustavus, is
    Gone home.

    _Prior_.    To the endless home of unbelievers,
    Where there is everlasting wail and woe,                           460
    Gnashing of teeth, and tears of blood, and fire
    Eternal and the worm which dieth not!

    _Sieg._ True, father: and to avert those pangs from one,
    Who, though of our most faultless holy Church,
    Yet died without its last and dearest offices,
    Which smooth the soul through purgatorial pains,
    I have to offer humbly this donation
    In masses for his spirit.
        [SIEGENDORF _offers the gold which he had taken from_ STRALENHEIM.

    _Prior_.                 Count, if I
    Receive it, 'tis because I know too well
    Refusal would offend you. Be assured                               470
    The largess shall be only dealt in alms,
    And every mass no less sung for the dead.
    Our House needs no donations, thanks to yours,
    Which has of old endowed it; but from you
    And yours in all meet things 'tis fit we obey.
    For whom shall mass be said?

    _Sieg._ (_faltering_).       For--for--the dead.

    _Prior_. His name?

    _Sieg._           'Tis from a soul, and not a name,
    I would avert perdition.

    _Prior_.                 I meant not
    To pry into your secret. We will pray
    For one unknown, the same as for the proudest.                     480

    _Sieg._ Secret! I have none: but, father, he who's gone
    Might _have_ one; or, in short, he did bequeath--
    No, not bequeath--but I bestow this sum
    For pious purposes.

    _Prior_.            A proper deed
    In the behalf of our departed friends.

    _Sieg._ But he who's gone was not my friend, but foe,
    The deadliest and the stanchest.

    _Prior_.                         Better still!
    To employ our means to obtain Heaven for the souls
    Of our dead enemies is worthy those
    Who can forgive them living.

    _Sieg._                      But I did not                         490
    Forgive this man. I loathed him to the last,
    As he did me. I do not love him now,

    _Prior_. Best of all! for this is pure religion!
    You fain would rescue him you hate from hell--
    An evangelical compassion--with
    Your own gold too!

    _Sieg._           Father, 'tis not my gold.

    _Prior_. Whose, then? You said it was no legacy.

    _Sieg._ No matter whose--of this be sure, that he
    Who owned it never more will need it, save
    In that which it may purchase from your altars:                    500
    'Tis yours, or theirs.

    _Prior_.               Is there no blood upon it?

    _Sieg._ No; but there's worse than blood--eternal shame!

    _Prior_. Did he who owned it die in his _bed?_

    _Sieg._                                        Alas!
    He did.

    _Prior_. Son! you relapse into revenge,
    If you regret your enemy's bloodless death.

    _Sieg._ His death was fathomlessly deep in blood.

    _Prior_. You said he died in his bed, not battle.

    _Sieg._                                           He
    Died, I scarce know--but--he was stabbed i' the dark,
    And now you have it--perished on his pillow
    By a cut-throat!--Aye!--you may look upon me!                      510
    _I_ am _not_ the man. I'll meet your eye on that point,
    As I can one day God's.

    _Prior_.                Nor did he die
    By means, or men, or instrument of yours?

    _Sieg._ No! by the God who sees and strikes!

    _Prior_.                                     Nor know you
    Who slew him?

    _Sieg._       I could only guess at _one_,
    And he to me a stranger, unconnected,
    As unemployed. Except by one day's knowledge,
    I never saw the man who was suspected.

    _Prior_. Then you are free from guilt.

    _Sieg._ (_eagerly_).                  Oh! _am_ I?--say!

    _Prior_. You have said so, and know best.

    _Sieg._                                   Father! I have spoken    520
    The truth, and nought but truth, if _not_ the _whole_;
    Yet say I am _not_ guilty! for the blood
    Of this man weighs on me, as if I shed it,
    Though, by the Power who abhorreth human blood,
    I did not!--nay, once spared it, when I might
    And _could_--aye, perhaps, _should_ (if our self-safety
    Be e'er excusable in such defences
    Against the attacks of over-potent foes):
    But pray for him, for me, and all my house;
    For, as I said, though I be innocent,
    I know not why, a like remorse is on me,
    As if he had fallen by me or mine. Pray for me,
    Father! I have prayed myself in vain.

    _Prior_.                              I will.
    Be comforted! You are innocent, and should
    Be calm as innocence.

    _Sieg._               But calmness is not
    Always the attribute of innocence.
    I feel it is not.

    _Prior_.          But it will be so,
    When the mind gathers up its truth within it.
    Remember the great festival to-morrow,
    In which you rank amidst our chiefest nobles,
    As well as your brave son; and smooth your aspect,
    Nor in the general orison of thanks
    For bloodshed stopt, let blood you shed not rise,
    A cloud, upon your thoughts. This were to be
    Too sensitive. Take comfort, and forget
    Such things, and leave remorse unto the guilty.             [_Exeunt_.

                                  ACT V.

          SCENE I.--_A large and magnificent Gothic Hall in the
         Castle of Siegendorf, decorated with Trophies, Banners,
                        and Arms of that Family_.

     _Enter_ ARNHEIM _and_ MEISTER, _attendants of_ COUNT SIEGENDORF.

    _Arn._ Be quick! the Count will soon return: the ladies
    Already are at the portal. Have you sent
    The messengers in search of him he seeks for?

    _Meis._ I have, in all directions, over Prague,
    As far as the man's dress and figure could
    By your description track him. The devil take
    These revels and processions! All the pleasure
    (If such there be) must fall to the spectators,--
    I'm sure none doth to us who make the show.

    _Arn._ Go to! my Lady Countess comes.

    _Meis._                              I'd rather                     10
    Ride a day's hunting on an outworn jade,
    Than follow in the train of a great man,
    In these dull pageantries.

    _Arn._                     Begone! and rail
    Within.                                                     [_Exeunt_.


    _Jos._ Well, Heaven be praised! the show is over.

    _Ida._ How can you say so? Never have I dreamt
    Of aught so beautiful. The flowers, the boughs,
    The banners, and the nobles, and the knights,
    The gems, the robes, the plumes, the happy faces,
    The coursers, and the incense, and the sun
    Streaming through the stained windows, even the _tombs_,            20
    Which looked so calm, and the celestial hymns,
    Which seemed as if they rather came from Heaven
    Than mounted there--the bursting organ's peal
    Rolling on high like an harmonious thunder;
    The white robes and the lifted eyes; the world
    At peace! and all at peace with one another!
    Oh, my sweet mother!                           [_Embracing_ JOSEPHINE.

    _Jos._               My beloved child!
    For such, I trust, thou shalt be shortly.

    _Ida._                                   Oh!
    I am so already. Feel how my heart beats!

    _Jos._ It does, my love; and never may it throb                     30
    With aught more bitter.

    _Ida._                 Never shall it do so!
    How should it? What should make us grieve? I hate
    To hear of sorrow: how can we be sad,
    Who love each other so entirely? You,
    The Count, and Ulric, and your daughter Ida.

    _Jos._ Poor child!

    _Ida._             Do you pity me?

    _Jos._                            No: I but envy,
    And that in sorrow, not in the world's sense
    Of the universal vice, if one vice be
    More general than another.

    _Ida._                     I'll not hear
    A word against a world which still contains                         40
    You and my Ulric. Did you ever see
    Aught like him? How he towered amongst them all!
    How all eyes followed him! The flowers fell faster--
    Rained from each lattice at his feet, methought,
    Than before all the rest; and where he trod
    I dare be sworn that they grow still, nor e'er
    Will wither.

    _Jos._       You will spoil him, little flatterer,
    If he should hear you.

    _Ida._                 But he never will.
    I dare not say so much to him--I fear him.

    _Jos._ Why so? he loves you well.

    _Ida._                            But I can never                   50
    Shape my thoughts _of_ him into words _to_ him:
    Besides, he sometimes frightens me.

    _Jos._                         How so?
    _Ida._ A cloud comes o'er his blue eyes suddenly,
    Yet he says nothing.

    _Jos._               It is nothing: all men,
    Especially in these dark troublous times,
    Have much to think of.

    _Ida._                 But I cannot think
    Of aught save him.

    _Jos._             Yet there are other men,
    In the world's eye, as goodly. There's, for instance,
    The young Count Waldorf, who scarce once withdrew
    His eyes from yours to-day.

    _Ida._                      I did not see him,                      60
    But Ulric. Did you not see at the moment
    When all knelt, and I wept? and yet, methought,
    Through my fast tears, though they were thick and warm,
    I saw him smiling on me.

    _Jos._                    I could not
    See aught save Heaven, to which my eyes were raised,
    Together with the people's.

    _Ida._                     I thought too
    Of Heaven, although I looked on Ulric.

    _Jos._                                Come,
    Let us retire! they will be here anon,
    Expectant of the banquet. We will lay
    Aside these nodding plumes and dragging trains.                     70

    _Ida._ And, above all, these stiff and heavy jewels,
    Which make my head and heart ache, as both throb
    Beneath their glitter o'er my brow and zone.
    Dear mother, I am with you.

            _Enter_ COUNT SIEGENDORF, _in full dress, from the
                         solemnity_, and LUDWIG.

    _Sieg._                     Is he not found?

    _Lud._ Strict search is making every where; and if
    The man be in Prague, be sure he will be found.

    _Sieg._ Where's Ulric?

    _Lud._                He rode round the other way
    With some young nobles; but he left them soon;
    And, if I err not, not a minute since
    I heard his Excellency, with his train,                             80
    Gallop o'er the west drawbridge.

                    _Enter ULRIC, splendidly dressed_.

    _Sieg._ (_to_ LUDWIG).            See they cease not
    Their quest of him I have described.                   [_Exit_ LUDWIG.
                                        Oh, Ulric!
    How have I longed for thee!

    _Ulr._                     Your wish is granted--
    Behold me!

    _Sieg._   I have seen the murderer.

    _Ulr._ Whom? Where?

    _Sieg._             The Hungarian, who slew Stralenheim.

    _Ulr._ You dream.

    _Sieg._           I live! and as I live, I saw him--
    Heard him! he dared to utter even my name.

    _Ulr._ What name?

    _Sieg._            Werner! _'twas_ mine.

    _Ulr._                                  It must be so
    No more: forget it.

    _Sieg._             Never! never! all
    My destinies were woven in that name:                               90
    It will not be engraved upon my tomb,
    But it may lead me there.

    _Ulr._                   To the point----the Hungarian?

    _Sieg._ Listen!--The church was thronged: the hymn was raised;
    "_Te Deum_" pealed from nations rather than
    From choirs, in one great cry of "God be praised"
    For one day's peace, after thrice ten dread years,
    Each bloodier than the former: I arose,
    With all the nobles, and as I looked down
    Along the lines of lifted faces,--from
    Our bannered and escutcheoned gallery, I                           100
    Saw, like a flash of lightning (for I saw
    A moment and no more), what struck me sightless
    To all else--the Hungarian's face! I grew
    Sick; and when I recovered from the mist
    Which curled about my senses, and again
    Looked down, I saw him not. The thanksgiving
    Was over, and we marched back in procession.

    _Ulr._ Continue.

    _Sieg._          When we reached the Muldau's bridge,
    The joyous crowd above, the numberless
    Barks manned with revellers in their best garbs,                   110
    Which shot along the glancing tide below,
    The decorated street, the long array,
    The clashing music, and the thundering
    Of far artillery, which seemed to bid
    A long and loud farewell to its great doings,
    The standards o'er me, and the tramplings round,
    The roar of rushing thousands,--all--all could not
    Chase this man from my mind, although my senses
    No longer held him palpable.

    _Ulr._                       You saw him
    No more, then?

    _Sieg._        I looked, as a dying soldier                        120
    Looks at a draught of water, for this man;
    But still I saw him not; but in his stead----

    _Ulr._ What in his stead?

    _Sieg._                  My eye for ever fell
    Upon your dancing crest; the loftiest.
    As on the loftiest and the loveliest head,
    It rose the highest of the stream of plumes,
    Which overflowed the glittering streets of Prague.

    _Ulr._ What's this to the Hungarian?

    _Sieg._                              Much! for I
    Had almost then forgot him in my son;
    When just as the artillery ceased, and paused                      130
    The music, and the crowd embraced in lieu
    Of shouting, I heard in a deep, low voice,
    Distinct and keener far upon my ear
    Than the late cannon's volume, this word--"_Werner!_"

    _Ulr._ Uttered by----

    _Sieg._                HIM! I turned--and saw--and fell.

    _Ulr._ And wherefore? Were you seen?

    _Sieg._                              The officious care
    Of those around me dragged me from the spot,
    Seeing my faintness, ignorant of the cause:
    You, too, were too remote in the procession
    (The old nobles being divided from their children)                 140
    To aid me.

    _Ulr._    But I'll aid you now.

    _Sieg._                        In what?

    _Ulr._ In searching for this man, or----When he's found,
    What shall we do with him?

    _Sieg._                   I know not that.

    _Ulr._ Then wherefore seek?

    _Sieg._                     Because I cannot rest
    Till he is found. His fate, and Stralenheim's,
    And ours, seem intertwisted! nor can be
    Unravelled, till----

                          _Enter an_ ATTENDANT.

    _Atten._            A stranger to wait on
    Your Excellency.

    _Sieg._         Who?

    _Atten._            He gave no name.

    _Sieg._ Admit him, ne'ertheless.
               [_The_ ATTENDANT _introduces_ GABOR, _and afterwards exit_.

    _Gab._                             'Tis then Werner!

    _Sieg._ (_haughtily_).
    The same you knew, sir, by that name; and _you!_                   150

    _Gab._ (_looking round_).
    I recognise you both: father and son,
    It seems. Count, I have heard that you, or yours,
    Have lately been in search of me: I am here.

    _Sieg._ I have sought you, and have found you: you are charged
    (Your own heart may inform you why) with such
    A crime as----                                           [_He pauses_.

    _Gab._       Give it utterance, and then
    I'll meet the consequences.

    _Sieg._                    You shall do so--

    _Gab._ First, who accuses me?

    _Sieg._                       All things,
    If not all men: the universal rumour--
    My own presence on the spot--the place--the time--                 160
    And every speck of circumstance unite
    To fix the blot on you.

    _Gab._                 And on _me only?_
    Pause ere you answer: is no other name,
    Save mine, stained in this business?

    _Sieg._                             Trifling villain!
    Who play'st with thine own guilt! Of all that breathe
    Thou best dost know the innocence of him
    'Gainst whom thy breath would blow thy bloody slander.
    But I will talk no further with a wretch,
    Further than justice asks. Answer at once,
    And without quibbling, to my charge.

    _Gab._                              'Tis false!                    170

    _Sieg._ Who says so?

    _Gab._               I.

    _Sieg._                And how disprove it?

    _Gab._                                     By
    The presence of the murderer.

    _Sieg._                      Name him.

    _Gab._                                He
    May have more names than one. Your Lordship had so
    Once on a time.

    _Sieg._         If you mean me, I dare
    Your utmost.

    _Gab._       You may do so, and in safety;
    I know the assassin.

    _Sieg._              Where is he?

    _Gab._ (_pointing to_ ULRIC).         Beside you!
         [ULRIC _rushes forward to attack_ GABOR; SIEGENDORF _interposes_.

    _Sieg._ Liar and fiend! but you shall not be slain;
    These walls are mine, and you are safe within them.
    Ulric, repel this calumny, as I                  [_He turns to_ ULRIC.
    Will do. I avow it is a growth so monstrous,                       180
    I could not deem it earth-born: but be calm;
    It will refute itself. But touch him not.
                                   [ULRIC _endeavours to compose himself_.

    _Gab._ Look at _him_, Count, and then _hear me_.

    _Sieg._ (_first to_ GABOR, _and then looking at_ ULRIC).
                                                        I hear thee.
    My God! you look----

    _Ulr._              How?

    _Sieg._                 As on that dread night,
    When we met in the garden.

    _Ulr._ (_composing himself_). It is nothing.

    _Gab._ Count, you are bound to hear me. I came hither
    Not seeking you, but sought. When I knelt down
    Amidst the people in the church, I dreamed not
    To find the beggared Werner in the seat
    Of Senators and Princes; but you have called me,                   190
    And we have met.

    _Sieg._          Go on, sir.

    _Gab._                      Ere I do so,
    Allow me to inquire, who profited
    By Stralenheim's death? Was't I--as poor as ever;
    And poorer by suspicion on my name!
    The Baron lost in that last outrage neither
    Jewels nor gold; his life alone was sought.--
    A life which stood between the claims of others
    To honours and estates scarce less than princely.

    _Sieg._ These hints, as vague as vain, attach no less
    To me than to my son.

    _Gab._                I can't help that.                           200
    But let the consequence alight on him
    Who feels himself the guilty one amongst us.
    I speak to you, Count Siegendorf, because
    I know you innocent, and deem you just.
    But ere I can proceed--_dare_ you protect me?
    _Dare_ you command me?

                   [SIEGENDORF _first looks at the Hungarian, and then at_
                       ULRIC, _who has unbuckled his sabre, and is drawing
                         lines with it on the floor--still in its sheath_.

    _Ulr._ (_looks at his father, and says_,) Let the man go on!

    _Gab._ I am unarmed, Count, bid your son lay down
    His sabre.

    _Ulr._ (_offers it to him contemptuously_). Take it.

    _Gab._                                            No, sir, 'tis enough
    That we are both unarmed--I would not choose
    To wear a steel which may be stained with more                     210
    Blood than came there in battle.

    _Ulr._ (_casts the sabre from him in contempt_). It--or some
    Such other weapon in my hand--spared yours
    Once, when disarmed and at my mercy.

    _Gab._                              True--
    I have not forgotten it: you spared me for
    Your own especial purpose--to sustain
    An ignominy not my own.

    _Ulr._                  Proceed.
    The tale is doubtless worthy the relater.
    But is it of my father to hear further?              [_To_ SIEGENDORF.

    _Sieg._ (_takes his son by the hand_).
    My son, I know my own innocence, and doubt not
    Of yours--but I have promised this man patience;                   220
    Let him continue.

    _Gab._            I will not detain you,
    By speaking of myself much: I began
    Life early--and am what the world has made me.
    At Frankfort on the Oder, where I passed
    A winter in obscurity, it was
    My chance at several places of resort
    (Which I frequented sometimes, but not often)
    To hear related a strange circumstance
    In February last. A martial force,
    Sent by the state, had, after strong resistance,                   230
    Secured a band of desperate men, supposed
    Marauders from the hostile camp.--They proved,
    However, not to be so--but banditti,
    Whom either accident or enterprise
    Had carried from their usual haunt--the forests
    Which skirt Bohemia--even into Lusatia.
    Many amongst them were reported of
    High rank--and martial law slept for a time.
    At last they were escorted o'er the frontiers,
    And placed beneath the civil jurisdiction                          240
    Of the free town of Frankfort. Of _their_ fate
    I know no more.

    _Sieg._         And what is this to Ulric?

    _Gab._ Amongst them there was said to be one man
    Of wonderful endowments:--birth and fortune,
    Youth, strength, and beauty, almost superhuman,
    And courage as unrivalled, were proclaimed
    His by the public rumour; and his sway,
    Not only over his associates, but
    His judges, was attributed to witchcraft,
    Such was his influence:--I have no great faith                     250
    In any magic save that of the mine--
    I therefore deemed him wealthy.--But my soul
    Was roused with various feelings to seek out
    This prodigy, if only to behold him.

    _Sieg._ And did you so?

    _Gab._                  You'll hear. Chance favoured me:
    A popular affray in the public square
    Drew crowds together--it was one of those
    Occasions where men's souls look out of them,
    And show them as they are--even in their faces:
    The moment my eye met his, I exclaimed,                            260
    "This is the man!" though he was then, as since,
    With the nobles of the city. I felt sure
    I had not erred, and watched him long and nearly;
    I noted down his form--his gesture--features,
    Stature, and bearing--and amidst them all,
    'Midst every natural and acquired distinction,
    I could discern, methought, the assassin's eye
    And gladiator's heart.

    _Ulr._ (_smiling_). The tale sounds well.

    _Gab._ And may sound better.--He appeared to me
    One of those beings to whom Fortune bends,                         270
    As she doth to the daring--and on whom
    The fates of others oft depend; besides,
    An indescribable sensation drew me
    Near to this man, as if my point of fortune
    Was to be fixed by him.--There I was wrong.

    _Sieg._ And may not be right now.

    _Gab._                            I followed him,
    Solicited his notice--and obtained it--
    Though not his friendship:--it was his intention
    To leave the city privately--we left it
    Together--and together we arrived                                  280
    In the poor town where Werner was concealed,
    And Stralenheim was succoured----Now we are on
    The verge--_dare_ you hear further?

    _Sieg._                             I must do so--
    Or I have heard too much.

    _Gab._                   I saw in you
    A man above his station--and if not
    So high, as now I find you, in my then
    Conceptions, 'twas that I had rarely seen
    Men such as you appeared in height of mind,
    In the most high of worldly rank; you were
    Poor, even to all save rags: I would have shared                   290
    My purse, though slender, with you--you refused it.

    _Sieg._ Doth my refusal make a debt to you,
    That thus you urge it?

    _Gab._                 Still you owe me something,
    Though not for that; and I owed you my safety,
    At least my seeming safety, when the slaves
    Of Stralenheim pursued me on the grounds
    That _I_ had robbed him.

    _Sieg._                  _I_ concealed you--I,
    Whom and whose house you arraign, reviving viper!

    _Gab._ I accuse no man--save in my defence.
    You, Count, have made yourself accuser--judge:                     300
    Your hall's my court, your heart is my tribunal.
    Be just, and _I'll_ be merciful!

    _Sieg._                          You merciful?--
    You! Base calumniator!

    _Gab._                 I. 'Twill rest
    With me at last to be so. You concealed me--
    In secret passages known to yourself,
    You said, and to none else. At dead of night,
    Weary with watching in the dark, and dubious
    Of tracing back my way, I saw a glimmer,
    Through distant crannies, of a twinkling light:
    I followed it, and reached a door--a secret                        310
    Portal--which opened to the chamber, where,
    With cautious hand and slow, having first undone
    As much as made a crevice of the fastening,
    I looked through and beheld a purple bed,
    And on it Stralenheim!--

    _Sieg._                  Asleep! And yet
    You slew him!--Wretch!

    _Gab._                He was already slain,
    And bleeding like a sacrifice. My own
    Blood became ice.

    _Sieg._           But he was all alone!
    You saw none else? You did not see the----
                                              [_He pauses from agitation_.

    _Gab._                                    No,
    _He_, whom you dare not name, nor even I                           320
    Scarce dare to recollect, was not then in
    The chamber.

    _Sieg._ (_to_ ULRIC). Then, my boy! thou art guiltless still--
    Thou bad'st me say _I_ was so once.--Oh! now
    Do thou as much.

    _Gab._           Be patient! I can _not_
    Recede now, though it shake the very walls
    Which frown above us. You remember,--or
    If not, your son does,--that the locks were changed
    Beneath _his_ chief inspection on the morn
    Which led to this same night: how he had entered
    He best knows--but within an antechamber,                          330
    The door of which was half ajar, I saw
    A man who washed his bloody hands, and oft
    With stern and anxious glance gazed back upon--
    The bleeding body--but it moved no more.

    _Sieg._ Oh! God of fathers!

    _Gab._                      I beheld his features
    As I see yours--but yours they were not, though
    Resembling them--behold them in Count Ulric's!
    Distinct as I beheld them, though the expression
    Is not now what it then was!--but it was so
    When I first charged him with the crime--so lately.                340

    _Sieg._ This is so--

    _Gab._ (_interrupting him_). Nay--but hear me to the end!
    _Now_ you must do so.--I conceived myself
    Betrayed by you and _him_ (for now I saw
    There was some tie between you) into this
    Pretended den of refuge, to become
    The victim of your guilt; and my first thought
    Was vengeance: but though armed with a short poniard
    (Having left my sword without), I was no match
    For him at any time, as had been proved
    That morning--either in address or force.                          350
    I turned and fled--i' the dark: chance rather than
    Skill made me gain the secret door of the hall,
    And thence the chamber where you slept: if I
    Had found you _waking_, Heaven alone can tell
    What vengeance and suspicion might have prompted;
    But ne'er slept guilt as Werner slept that night.

    _Sieg._ And yet I had horrid dreams! and such brief sleep,
    The stars had not gone down when I awoke.
    Why didst thou spare me? I dreamt of my father--
    And now my dream is out!

    _Gab._                  'Tis not my fault,                         360
    If I have read it.--Well! I fled and hid me--
    Chance led me here after so many moons--
    And showed me Werner in Count Siegendorf!
    Werner, whom I had sought in huts in vain,
    Inhabited the palace of a sovereign!
    You sought me and have found me--now you know
    My secret, and may weigh its worth.

    _Sieg._ (_after a pause_).           Indeed!

    _Gab._ Is it revenge or justice which inspires
    Your meditation?

    _Sieg._         Neither--I was weighing
    The value of your secret.

    _Gab._                    You shall know it                        370
    At once:--When you were poor, and I, though poor,
    Rich enough to relieve such poverty
    As might have envied mine, I offered you
    My purse--you would not share it:--I'll be franker
    With you: you are wealthy, noble, trusted by
    The imperial powers--you understand me?

    _Sieg._                                 Yes.

    _Gab._ Not quite. You think me venal, and scarce true:
    'Tis no less true, however, that my fortunes
    Have made me both at present. You shall aid me:
    I would have aided you--and also have                              380
    Been somewhat damaged in my name to save
    Yours and your son's. Weigh well what I have said.

    _Sieg._ Dare you await the event of a few minutes'

    _Gab._ (_casts his eyes on_ ULRIC, _who is
    leaning against a pillar_).   If I should do so?

    _Sieg._ I pledge my life for yours. Withdraw into
    This tower.                                    [_Opens a turret-door_.

    _Gab._ (_hesitatingly_). This is the second _safe_ asylum
    You have offered me.

    _Sieg._             And was not the first so?

    _Gab._ I know not that even now--but will approve
    The second. I have still a further shield.--
    I did not enter Prague alone; and should I                         390
    Be put to rest with Stralenheim, there are
    Some tongues without will wag in my behalf.
    Be brief in your decision![200]

    _Sieg._                   I will be so.--
    My word is sacred and irrevocable
    Within _these_ walls, but it extends no further.

    _Gab._ I'll take it for so much.

    _Sieg._ (_points to_ ULRIC'S _sabre, still upon the ground_).
                                   Take also _that_--
    I saw you eye it eagerly, and him

    _Gab._ (_takes up the sabre_). I will; and so provide
    To sell my life--not cheaply.
                 [GABOR _goes into the turret, which_ SIEGENDORF _closes_.

    _Sieg._ (_advances to_ ULRIC). Now, Count Ulric!
    For son I dare not call thee--What say'st thou?                    400

    _Ulr._ His tale is true.

    _Sieg._                  True, monster!

    _Ulr._                                 Most true, father!
    And you did well to listen to it: what
    We know, we can provide against. He must
    Be silenced.

    _Sieg._      Aye, with half of my domains;
    And with the other half, could he and thou
    Unsay this villany.

    _Ulr._             It is no time
    For trifling or dissembling. I have said
    His story's true; and he too must be silenced.

    _Sieg._ How so?

    _Ulr._          As Stralenheim is. Are you so dull
    As never to have hit on this before?                               410
    When we met in the garden, what except
    Discovery in the act could make me know
    His death? Or had the Prince's household been
    Then summoned, would the cry for the police
    Been left to such a stranger? Or should I
    Have loitered on the way? Or could _you, Werner_,
    The object of the Baron's hate and fears,
    Have fled, unless by many an hour before
    Suspicion woke? I sought and fathomed you,
    Doubting if you were false or feeble: I                            420
    Perceived you were the latter: and yet so
    Confiding have I found you, that I doubted
    At times your weakness.

    _Sieg._                 Parricide! no less
    Than common stabber! What deed of my life,
    Or thought of mine, could make you deem me fit
    For your accomplice?

    _Ulr._               Father, do not raise
    The devil you cannot lay between us. This
    Is time for union and for action, not
    For family disputes. While _you_ were tortured,
    Could _I_ be calm? Think you that I have heard                     430
    This fellow's tale without some feeling?--You
    Have taught me feeling for _you_ and myself;
    For whom or what else did you ever teach it?

    _Sieg._ Oh! my dead father's curse! 'tis working now.

    _Ulr._ Let it work on! the grave will keep it down!
    Ashes are feeble foes: it is more easy
    To baffle such, than countermine a mole,
    Which winds its blind but living path beneath you.
    Yet hear me still!--If _you_ condemn me, yet,
    Remember _who_ hath taught me once too often                       440
    To listen to him! _Who_ proclaimed to me
    That _there were crimes_ made venial by the occasion?
    That passion was our nature? that the goods
    Of Heaven waited on the goods of fortune?
    _Who_ showed me his humanity secured
    By his _nerves_ only? _Who_ deprived me of
    All power to vindicate myself and race
    In open day? By his disgrace which stamped
    (It might be) bastardy on me, and on
    Himself--a _felon's_ brand! The man who is                         450
    At once both warm and weak invites to deeds
    He longs to do, but dare not. Is it strange
    That I should _act_ what you could _think?_ We have done
    With right and wrong; and now must only ponder
    Upon effects, not causes. Stralenheim,
    Whose life I saved from impulse, as _unknown_,
    I would have saved a peasant's or a dog's, I slew
    _Known_ as our foe--but not from vengeance. He
    Was a rock in our way which I cut through,
    As doth the bolt, because it stood between us                      460
    And our true destination--but not idly.
    As stranger I preserved him, and he _owed me_
    His _life_: when due, I but resumed the debt.
    He, you, and I stood o'er a gulf wherein
    I have plunged our enemy. _You_ kindled first
    The torch--_you_ showed the path; now trace me that
    Of safety--or let me!

    _Sieg._               I have done with life!

    _Ulr._ Let us have done with that which cankers life--
    Familiar feuds and vain recriminations
    Of things which cannot be undone. We have                          470
    No more to learn or hide: I know no fear,
    And have within these very walls men who
    (Although you know them not) dare venture all things.
    You stand high with the state; what passes here
    Will not excite her too great curiosity:
    Keep your own secret, keep a steady eye,
    Stir not, and speak not;--leave the rest to me:
    We must have no _third_ babblers thrust between us.
                                                            [_Exit_ ULRIC.

    _Sieg._ (_solus_). Am I awake? are these my father's halls?
    And _you_--my son? _My_ son! _mine!_ I who have ever               480
    Abhorred both mystery and blood, and yet
    Am plunged into the deepest hell of both!
    I must be speedy, or more will be shed--
    The Hungarian's!--Ulric--he hath partisans,
    It seems: I might have guessed as much. Oh fool!
    Wolves prowl in company. He hath the key
    (As I too) of the opposite door which leads
    Into the turret. Now then! or once more
    To be the father of fresh crimes, no less
    Than of the criminal! Ho! Gabor! Gabor!                            490
                      [_Exit into the turret, closing the door after him_.

                 SCENE II.--_The Interior of the Turret_.

                         GABOR _and_ SIEGENDORF.

    _Gab._ Who calls?

    _Sieg._           I--Siegendorf! Take these and fly!
    Lose not a moment!

                  [_Tears off a diamond star and other jewels, and thrusts
                         them into_ GABOR'S _hand_.

    _Gab._               What am I to do
    With these?

    _Sieg._    Whate'er you will: sell them, or hoard,
    And prosper; but delay not, or you are lost!

    _Gab._ You pledged your honour for my safety!

    _Sieg._                                        And
    Must thus redeem it. Fly! I am not master,
    It seems, of my own castle--of my own
    Retainers--nay, even of these very walls,
    Or I would bid them fall and crush me! Fly!
    Or you will be slain by----

    _Gab._                      Is it even so?                          10
    Farewell, then! Recollect, however, Count,
    You sought this fatal interview!

    _Sieg._                          I did:
    Let it not be more fatal still!--Begone!

    _Gab._ By the same path I entered?

    _Sieg._                           Yes; that's safe still;
    But loiter not in Prague;--you do not know
    With whom you have to deal.

    _Gab._                     I know too well--
    And knew it ere yourself, unhappy Sire!
    Farewell!                                               [_Exit_ GABOR.

    _Sieg._ (_solus and listening_).
              He hath cleared the staircase. Ah! I hear
    The door sound loud behind him! He is safe!
    Safe!--Oh, my father's spirit!--I am faint--                        20

                       [_He leans down upon a stone seat, near the wall of
                             the tower, in a drooping posture_.

        _Enter_ ULRIC _with others armed, and with weapons drawn_.

    _Ulr._ Despatch!--he's there!

    _Lud._                       The Count, my Lord!

    _Ulr._ (_recognizing_ SIEGENDORF).              _You_ here, sir!

    _Sieg._ Yes: if you want another victim, strike!

    _Ulr._ (_seeing him stript of his jewels_).
    Where is the ruffian who hath plundered you?
    Vassals, despatch in search of him! You see
    'Twas as I said--the wretch hath stript my father
    Of jewels which might form a Prince's heir-loom!
    Away! I'll follow you forthwith.
                                 [_Exeunt all but_ SIEGENDORF _and_ ULRIC.
                                    What's this?
    Where is the villain?

    _Sieg._            There are _two_, sir: which
    Are you in quest of?

    _Ulr._              Let us hear no more
    Of this: he must be found. You have not let him                     30

    _Sieg._ He's gone.

    _Ulr._             With your connivance?

    _Sieg._                                 With
    My fullest, freest aid.

    _Ulr._                 Then fare you well!
                                                        [ULRIC _is going_.

    _Sieg._ Stop! I command--entreat--implore! Oh, Ulric!
    Will you then leave me?

    _Ulr._                  What! remain to be
    Denounced--dragged, it may be, in chains; and all
    By your inherent weakness, half-humanity,
    Selfish remorse, and temporizing pity,
    That sacrifices your whole race to save
    A wretch to profit by our ruin! No, Count,
    Henceforth you have no son!

    _Sieg._                     I never had one;                        40
    And would you ne'er had borne the useless name!
    Where will you go? I would not send you forth
    Without protection.

    _Ulr._              Leave that unto me.
    I am not alone; nor merely the vain heir
    Of your domains; a thousand, aye, ten thousand
    Swords, hearts, and hands are mine.

    _Sieg._                             The foresters!
    With whom the Hungarian found you first at Frankfort!

    _Ulr._ Yes--men--who are worthy of the name! Go tell
    Your Senators that they look well to Prague;
    Their Feast of Peace was early for the times;                       50
    There are more spirits abroad than have been laid
    With Wallenstein!

                       _Enter_ JOSEPHINE _and_ IDA.

    _Jos._              What is't we hear? My Siegendorf!
    Thank Heaven, I see you safe!

    _Sieg._                      Safe!

    _Ida._                           Yes, dear father!

    _Sieg._ No, no; I have no children: never more
    Call me by that worst name of parent.

    _Jos._                                What
    Means my good Lord?

    _Sieg._             That you have given birth
    To a demon!

    _Ida_ (_taking_ ULRIC'S _hand_). Who shall dare say this of Ulric?

    _Sieg._ Ida, beware! there's blood upon that hand.

    _Ida_ (_stooping to kiss it_).
    I'd kiss it off, though it were mine.

    _Sieg._                               It is so!

    _Ulr._ Away! it is your father's!                       [_Exit_ ULRIC.

    _Ida._                            Oh, great God!                    60
    And I have loved this man!
        [IDA _falls senseless_--JOSEPHINE _stands speechless with horror_.

    _Sieg._                    The wretch hath slain
    Them both!--My Josephine! we are now alone!
    Would we had ever been so!--All is over
    For me!--Now open wide, my sire, thy grave;
    Thy curse hath dug it deeper for thy son
    In mine!--The race of Siegendorf is past.

                 The end of the fifth act and the Drama.
                                                       B. P. J^y 20, 1822.


[159] {337}[This is not correct. _The Young Lady's Tale, or the Two
Emilys_ and _The Clergyman's Tale, or Pembroke_, were contributed by
Sophia Lee. _Kruitzner, or The Germans Tale_, was written by Harriet Lee
(1757-1851), the younger of the sisters. Miss Lee began her literary
career as a dramatist. A comedy, _The New Peerage; or, Our Eyes may
deceive us_, was played at Drury Lane, November 10, 1787. In 1798 she
published _The Mysterious Marriage; or, The Heirship of Rosalva_. After
the publication of Byron's _Werner_, she wrote a dramatic version of
_The German's Tale_, under the title of _The Three Strangers_. It was
brought out at Covent Garden, December 10, 1825, and acted four times.

The first volume of the _Canterbury Tales_, by Harriet Lee, was
published in 1797; the second volume, by Sophia Lee, in 1798 (a second
edition of these volumes was published in 1799); a third volume (second
edition), by Sophia and Harriet Lee, appeared in 1800; the fourth
volume, by Harriet Lee (which contains _The German's Tale_, pp. 3-368)
was published in 1801; and the fifth volume, by Harriet Lee, in 1805.

There can be little doubt that Byron's visit to Churchill's grave at
Dover, which took place April 25, 1816 (see _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv.
45), was suggested by a passage in the _Introduction_, pp. vii.-ix., to
the first volume (1797) of the _Canterbury Tales_. The author "wanders
forth to note the _memorabilia_ of Dover," is informed that "the
greatest curiosity in the place is the tomb of a poet," and hastens "to
a spot surrounded by ruined walls, in the midst of which stood the white
marble tablet marked with Churchill's name," etc.]

[cm] {338} [_Of England or any other country. It may seem unnecessary to
add this, but having seen a poem of mine never intended for
representation, dragged in spite of my remonstrance upon the theatres of
more than one nation, I trust it will not be deemed impertinent if I
once more repeat my protest against_ [_a gross_] _folly which may injure
me--and_ [_benefit_] _no one. If it be understood that_ all dramatic
_writing is generically intended for the stage, I deny it_[*]. _With the
exception of Shakespeare_ (_or Tate, Cibber, and Thompson under his
name_), _not one in fifty plays of our dramatists is ever acted, however
much they may be read. Only_ one _of Massinger--none of Ford--none of
Marlowe_, one _of Ben Jonson--none of Webster, none of Heywood: and,
even in Comedy, Congreve is rarely acted, and that in only one of his
plays. Neither is Joanna Baillie. I am far from attempting to raise
myself to a level with the least of these names--I only wish to be_
[_exempted_] _from a stage which is not theirs. Perhaps Mr. Lamb's essay
upon the effects of dramatic representation on the intelligent
auditor_[**]----_marks are just with regard to this--plays of Shakespeare
himself--the hundredfold to those of others_.--From a mutilated page of
MS. M.]

[*] [Byron is replying to Jeffrey (_Edinburgh Review_, February, 1822,
vol. 36, p. 422). "A drama is not merely a dialogue, but _an action_:
and necessarily supposes that something is to pass before the eyes of
assembled spectators.... If an author does not bear this continually in
his mind, and does not write in the ideal presence of an eager and
diversified assemblage, he may be a poet, perhaps, but assuredly he will
never be a dramatist."]

[**] ["It may seem a paradox, but I cannot help being of opinion that
the plays of Shakespeare are less calculated for performance on a stage
than those of almost any other dramatist whatever."--"On the Tragedies
of Shakespeare," _Complete Works of Charles Lamb_, 1875, p. 255. It was,
too, something of a paradox that Byron should be eager to shelter
himself under the aegis of Charles Lamb. But unpopularity, like poverty,
brings together strange bedfellows.]

[160] {340}[The Thirty Years' War dates from the capture of Pilsen by
Mansfeld, November 21, 1618, and did not end till the Peace of
Westphalia, October 24, 1648. The incident recorded in act v., a solemn
commemoration of the Treaty of Prague, must have taken place in 1635.
But in _Werner_ there is little or no attempt "to follow history."]

[cn] {342} _Yea--to a peasant_.--[MS. erased.]

[161] {346}[Compare--"And still my passions wake and war." Lines
"To----" [Lady Blessington], _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 564.]

[162] {347}[It has been surmised that Byron had some knowledge of the
early life and history of the dramatist Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias
Werner (1768-1823), and that a similarity of character and incident
suggested the renaming of Kruitzner. But the change of name was made in
1815, not in 1821, and it is far more probable that Byron called his
hero "Werner," because "Kruitzner" is unrhythmical, or simply because
"Werner," a common German surname, is not unlike "Werther," which was
"familiar as a household word."]

[163] {348}["Lord Byron's establishment at Pisa was, like everything
else about him, somewhat singular; it consisted of a monkey, a mastiff,
a bull-dog, two cats, ... several servants in livery, and the trusty
Fletcher as _Major Domo_, or superintendant of the _Menagerie_."--_Life,
Writings, Opinions, etc._, 1825, ii. 203, 204. See, too, Medwin,
_Conversations_, 1824, pp. 1, 2.]

[164] [The Oder crosses and re-crosses the northern frontier of

[165] {349}[In Miss Lee's _Kruitzner_ Gabor is always spoken of as "The
Hungarian." He is no doubt named after Bethlen Gabor, Prince of
Transylvania, who was elected King of Hungary, August, 1620.]

[166] {351}[Compare--"And so--for God's sake--hock and soda-water."
Fragment written on MS. of Canto I. of _Don Juan_.]

[167] {352}[On the 18th of August, 1619, Bethlen Gabor threw in his lot
with the Bohemians, and "wrote the Directors at Prague that he would
march with his troops, and in September would, in their defence, enter
Moravia."--History of the Thirty Years War, by A. Gindely, 1885, i. 166.
_Vide ibid._, for portrait of "Gabriel Bethlem, D. G. Princeps
Transsylvaniae, etc., AEtatis suae 40, A^o Christi, 1620."]

[168] {354}[From _super_, and _nagel_, "a nail." To drink _supernaculum_
is to empty the cup so thoroughly that the last drop or "pearl," drained
on to the nail, retains its shape, and does not run. If "the pearl"
broke and began to slide, the drinker was "sconced." Hence, good liquor.
See Rabelais' _Life of Gargantua, etc._, Urquhart's Translation, 1863,
lib. i, ch. 5.]

[co] {355} _Without means and he has not a stiver left_.--[MS. erased.]

[cp] {357} _ This is one of those to whom I owe aid_.--[MS. erased.]

[169] {364}[Compare Age of Bronze, line 130, _vide post_, p. 549.]

[170] {365}[For the "merchant dukes" of Florence, see _Childe Harold_,
Canto IV. stanza lx. line 4. See, too, _ibid_., stanza xlviii. line 8,
_Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 375, and 365, note 1.]

[171] {367}["Your printer has made one odd mistake:--'poor as a _Mouse_'
instead of 'poor as a _Miser_.' The expression may seem strange, but it
is only a translation of 'Semper avarus eget!'" (Hor., _Epist. I._ ii.
56).--Letter to Murray, May 29, 1822, _Letters_, 1901, vi. 75.]

[cq] {368} ----_who furnish our good masters_.--[MS. M.]

[172] {385}[The Swedish garrisons did not evacuate Bohemia till 1649,
and then, as their occupation was gone, with considerable reluctance.
"It need not, therefore, be a matter of wonder that from the discharged
soldiers numerous bands of robbers ['_bande nere_,' or 'black bands:'
see _Deformed Transformed_, Part II. sc. i. line 65] were formed; that
these pursued on their own account the trade that they had formerly
carried on under the cover of military law, and that commerce became
again unsafe on the highways."--_History of the Thirty Years' War_, by
A. Gindely, 1885, ii. 382, 383.]

[173] [Albrecht Wenceslaus Eusebius, Count of Waldstein, Duke of
Mecklenburg, quartermaster of the Imperial Army in the Thirty Years'
War, was born in Bohemia, September 15, 1583, and assassinated at Egra,
February 25, 1634.

Johann Tserclaes Count von Tilly, born 1559, defeated the Bohemians at
the battle of Prague, November 8, 1620, died April 30, 1632.

Gustavus Adolphus, the "Lion of the North," born December 9, 1594,
succeeded his father, Charles IX., King of Sweden, in 1611. As head of
the Protestant League, he invaded Germany, defeated the armies of Conti
and Schaumburg, June-December, 1630; defeated Tilly at Leipzig and
Breitenfeld, September 7, 1631; defeated Wallenstein at Lutzen; but was
killed in battle, November 16, 1632.

Johan Bannier, or Baner, Swedish general, born June 23, 1595, defeated
the Saxons near Chemnitz, April 4, 1639, died December, 1649.

Lennart Torstenson, Swedish general, born 1603, fought at the battle of
Leipzig, and was taken prisoner at Nuernburg. In 1641 he was appointed
General-in-Chief of the Swedes in Germany, and died at Stockholm, April,

Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, born 1604, succeeded Gustavus Adolphus in
command in Germany, November 16, 1632; defeated the Imperialists at
Rheinfeld, 1638; died at Huningen, 1639.

Banier and Torstenson were living when the Peace of Westphalia was
proclaimed, November 3, 1648.]

[174] {373}[George William, Elector of Brandenburgh (1595-1640), was in
alliance with Gustavus Adolphus; John George, Elector of Saxony
(1585-1656) (_vide supra_, line 179), was on the side of the

[175] {377}[Compare _The Antiquary_, by Sir W. Scott, i. 366, chap. vii.
ed. 1851: "'Good man,' said Sir Arthur, 'can you think of nothing?--of
no help?--I'll make you rich--I'll give you a farm--I'll----' 'Our
riches will soon be equal,' said the beggar, looking upon the strife of
the waters. 'They are sae already; for I hae nae land, and you would give
your fair bounds and barony for a square yard of rock that would be dry
for twal hours.'"--_The Antiquary_ was published in 1816, six years
before the second version of _Werner_ was written, and ten years after
the death of the Duchess of Devonshire.]

[176] {381}[The following is the original passage in the
novel:--"'Stralenheim,' said Conrad, 'does not appear to me altogether
the man you take him for:--but were it even otherwise, he owes me
gratitude not only for the past, but for what he supposes to be my
present employment. I saved his life, and he therefore places confidence
in me. He has been robbed last night--is sick--a stranger--and in no
condition to discover the villain who has plundered him.... and the
business on which I sought the Intendant was chiefly
that.'"--_Canterbury Tales_, by Sophia and Harriet Lee, 1838, ii. 203,

[177] ["'And who,' said he, 'has entitled you to brand thus with
ignominious epithets a being you do not know? Who ... has taught you
that it would be safe even for my son to insult me?'--'It is not
necessary to know the person of a ruffian,' replied Conrad, indignantly,
'to give him the appellation he merits:--and what is there in common
between my father and such a character?'--'_Everything_,' said
Siegendorf, bitterly,--'for that ruffian was your father!'"--Ibid., p.

[178] {382}["'Conrad ... before you thus presume to chastise me with your
eye, learn to understand my actions! Young, and inexperienced in the
world--reposing hitherto in the bosom of indulgence and luxury, is it
for _you_ to judge of the impulse of the passions, or the temptations of
misery? Wait till, like me, you have blighted your fairest hopes--have
endured humiliation and sorrow--poverty and insult--before you pretend
to judge of their effect on you! Should that miserable day ever
arrive--should you see the being at your mercy who stands between you
and everything that is dear or noble in life!--who is ready to tear from
you your name--your inheritance--your very life itself--congratulate
your own heart, if, like me, you are content with petty plunder, and are
not tempted to exterminate a serpent, who now lives, perhaps to sting us
all.'"--_Canterbury Tales_, by Sophia and Harriet Lee, 1838, ii. 204,

[179] {383}["'You do not know this man,' continued he; 'I do!--I believe
him to be mean--sordid--deceitful! You will conceive yourself safe,
because you are young and brave! Learn, however, ... none are so secure
but desperation or subtilty may reach them! Stralenheim, in the palace
of a prince, was in my power! My knife was held over him--a single
moment would have swept him from the face of the earth, and with him all
my future fears:--I forbore--and I am now in his.--Are you certain that
you are not so too? Who assures you he does not know you?--who tells you
that he has not lured you into his society, either to rid himself of you
for ever, or to plunge you with your family into a
dungeon?'"--_Canterbury Tales_, by Sophia and Harriet Lee, 1838, ii. 205.
It should be noted that this and other passages from Miss Lee's story,
which have been selected for comparison with the text, are to be
regarded as representative parallels--samples of a far more extended
adaptation. _Vide ante_, "The Introduction to _Werner_," p. 326.]

[180] ["'Me ... he has known invariably through every change of fortune
or of name--and why not you?--_Me_ he has entrapped--are you more
discreet? He has wound the snares of Idenstein around me:--of a reptile,
whom, a few years ago, I would have spurned from my presence, and whom,
in spurning now, I have furnished with fresh venom:--will _you_ be more
patient?--Conrad, Conrad, there are crimes rendered venial by the
occasion, and temptations too exquisite for human fortitude to master or
endure.'"--_Canterbury Tales_, by Sophia and Harriet Lee, 1838, ii.

[181] {384}["'These are only the systems of my father ... My mother
thinks not with him?'"--Ibid., p. 206.]

[182] {385} The Ravenstone, "Rabenstein," is the _stone gibbet_ of
Germany, and so called from the ravens perching on it. [Compare
_Manfred_, act iii., First Version, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 122.]

[cr] {387} ----_and a master_.--[MS. M.]

[183] {388}[Compare--"Cozenage, mere cozenage." _Merry Wives of
Windsor_, act iv. sc. 5, line 58.

If further proof were needed, the repetition or echo of Shakespearian
phrases, here and elsewhere in the play, would reveal Byron's

[184] {389}[Compare _Marino Faliero_, act ii, sc. 2, line 115--"These
swoln silkworms masters."

Silkworm ("mal bigatto") is an Italianism. See _Poetical Works_, 1901,
iv. 386, note 4.]

[cs] {391}

                         ----_and hollow_
    _Sickness sits caverned in his yellow eye_.--[MS. M.]

[185] {393}["Thou hast harped my fear aright." _Macbeth_, act iv. sc. 1,
line 74.]

[186] {396}["Momus is the god of cruel mockery. He is said to have found
fault with the man formed by Hephaestus, because a little door had not
been left in his breast, so as to enable his fellows to look into his
secret thoughts." (See Lucian's _Hermotimus_, cap. xx.) There was a
proverb, [Greek: To~| Mo/mo| a)re/skein] _Momo santisfacere; vide
Adagia_ Variorum, 1643, p. 58. Byron describes Suwarrow as "Now Mars,
now Momus" (_Don Juan_, Canto VII. stanza lv. line 7).]

[187] {403}[For the "Theban brethren," Eteocles and Polynices, see the
_Septem c. Thebas_ of AEschylus. Byron had read and liked the "Seven
before Thebes."--_Letters_, 1900, iv. 174.]

[188] {404}[A cavity at the lower end of the lead attached to a
sounding-line is partially filled with an _arming_ (tallow), to which
the bottom, especially if it be sand, shells, or fine gravel,
adheres.--Knights's _American Mechanical Dictionary_, 1877, art.

[189] {405}[Compare _The Age of Bronze_, line 45, for the story of
Sesostris being drawn by kings. (See Diodorus Siculus, _Bibl. Hist._,
lib. i. p. 37, C., ed. 1604, p. 53.)]

[ct] {406} _And never offered aught as a reward_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[cu] {407} ----_that if thou wert a snail, none else_.--[MS. M.]

[190] {408}[Compare--"The iron tongue of midnight." _Midsummer Night's
Dream_, act v. sc. 1, line 352.]

[191] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto III. stanza xcvi. line 5,
_Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 275, note I.]

[192] {409}[Compare--"With your leave, I will call a will-o'-the-wisp."
Goethe's _Faust_.]

[193] {410}[Compare--"Sleep she as sound as careless infancy." _Merry
Wives of Windsor_, act v. sc. 5, line 50.]

[194] {416}[At the siege of Magdeburg, May 19, 1631, "soldiers and
citizens, with their wives, boys and girls, old and young, were all
mercilessly butchered." "The city was set fire to at more than twelve
points, and, except the cathedral and about fifty houses, sank into soot
and ashes. It was not Tilly and his men, but Magdeburg's own people, who
kindled the city to a conflagration."--_History of the Thirty Years'
War_, by Anton Gindely, 1885, ii. 65, 66.]

[195] {418}[In Miss Lee's _Kruitzner_, Conrad meets his death in a
skirmish on the frontiers of Franconia.]

[196] {423}[Compare "Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish: I eat
the air" (Hamlet, act iii. sc. 2, lines 88, 89).]

[197] [Compare--

    "Had his free breathing been denied
    The range of the steep mountain's side."

                                   _Prisoner of Chillon_, lines 142, 143.]

[198] [The Treaty of Prague was signed May 30, 1635.]

[199] {428}[For "the attachment of the nightingale to the rose," see
_Giaour_ lines 21-31, _Poetical Works_, 1900, in. 86, note 1.]

[200] {446}["_Gab._ I have yet an additional security. I did not enter
Prague a solitary individual; and there are tongues without that will
speak for me, although I should even share the fate of Stralenheim! Let
your deliberation be short.--_Sieg._ My promise is
solemn--sacred--irrevocable: it extends not, however, beyond my own
walls."--_Canterbury Tales_, 1838, ii. 268; see, too, pp. 269, 270.]


                            Nov. 1815.

                         [FIRST DRAFT.]

                                  ACT I.

    SCENE I.--_A ruinous chateau on the Silesian frontier of Bohemia_.

    _Josepha_. THE storm is at it's height--how the wind howls,
    Like an unearthly voice, through these lone chambers!
    And the rain patters on the flapping casement
    Which quivers in it's frame--the night is starless--
    Yet cheerly Werner! still our hearts are warm:
    The tempest is without, or should be so--
    For we are sheltered here where Fortune's clouds
    May roll all harmless o'er us as the wrath
    Of these wild elements that menace now,
    Yet do not reach us.

    _Werner_ (_without attending, and walking disturbedly,
    speaking to himself_). No--'Tis past--'tis blighted,                10
    The last faint hope to which my withered fortune
    Clung with a feeble and a fluttering grasp,
    Yet clung convulsively--for twas the _last_--
    Is broken with the rest: would that my heart were!
    But there is pride, and passion's war within,
    Which give my breast vitality to suffer,
    As it hath suffered through long years till now.
    My father's wrath extends beyond the grave,
    And haunts me in the shape of Stralenheim!
    He revels in my fathers palace--I--                                 20
    Exiled--disherited--a nameless outcast!
                                                         [_Werner pauses_.
    My boy, too, where and what is he?--my father
    Might well have limited his curse to me.
    If that my heritage had passed to Ulric,
    I had not mourned my own less happy lot.
    No--No--all's past--all torn away.

    _Josepha_.                        Dear Werner,
    Oh banish these discomfortable thoughts
    That thus contend within you: we are poor,
    So we have ever been--but I remember
    The time when thy Josepha's smile could turn                        30
    Thy heart to hers--despite of every ill.
    So let it now--alas! you hear me not.

    _Werner_. What said you?--let it pass--no matter what--
    Think me not churlish, Sweet, I am not well.
    My brain is hot and busy--long fatigue
    And last night's watching have oppressed me much.

    _Josepha_. Then get thee to thy couch. I do perceive
    In thy pale cheek and in thy bloodshot eye
    A strange distemperature--nay, as a boon,
    I do entreat thee to thy rest.

    _Werner_.                      My _rest!_                           40
    Well--be it so--Good Night!

    _Josepha_.                 Thy hand is burning;
    I will prepare a potion:--peace be with thee--
    Tomorrow's dawn I trust will find thee healthful;
    And, then, our Ulric may perchance--

    _Werner_. _Our_ Ulric--thine and mine--our only boy--
    Curse on his father and his father's Sire!
    (For, if it is so, I will render back
    A curse that Heaven will hear as well as his),
    Our Ulric by his father's fault or folly,
    And by my father's unrelenting pride,                               50
    Is at this hour, perchance, undone. This night
    That shelters us may shower it's wrath on him--
    A homeless beggar for his parent's sin--
    Thy sin and mine--Thy child and mine atones--
    Our Ulric--Woman!--I'll to no bed to-night--
    There is no pillow for my thoughts.

    _Josepha_.                         What words,
    What fearful words are these! what may they mean?

    _Werner_. Look on me--thou hast known me, hitherto,
    As an oppressed, but yet a humble creature;
    By birth predestined to the yoke I've borne.                        60
    Till now I've borne it patiently, at least,
    In bitter silence--but the hour is come,
    That should and shall behold me as I was,
    And ought again to be--

    _Josepha_.               I know not what
    Thy mystery may tend to, but my fate--
    My heart--my will--my love are linked with thine,
    And I would share thy sorrow: lay it open.

    _Werner_. Thou see'st the son of Count--but let it pass--
    I forfeited the name in wedding thee:
    That fault of many faults a father's pride                          70
    Proclaimed the last and worst--and, from that hour,
    He disavowed, disherited, debased
    A wayward son----tis a long tale--too long--
    And I am heartsick of the heavy thought.

    _Josepha_. Oh, I could weep--but that were little solace:
    Yet tell the rest--or, if thou wilt not, say--
    Yet say--why, through long years, from me withheld,
    This fearful secret that hath gnawed thy soul?

    _Werner_. Why? had it not been base to call on thee
    For patience and for pity--to awake                                 80
    The thirst of grandeur in thy gentle spirit--
    To tell thee what thou shouldst have been--the wife
    Of one, in power--birth--wealth, preeminent--
    Then, sudden quailing in that lofty tone,
    To bid thee soothe thy husband--peasant Werner?

    _Josepha_. I would thou wert, indeed, the peasant Werner;
    For then thy soul had been of calmer mould,
    And suited to thy lot----

    _Werner_.                 Was it not so?
    Beneath a humble name and garb--the which
    My youthful riot and a father's frown,                              90
    Too justly fixed upon me, had compelled
    My bowed down spirit to assume too well--
    Since it deceived the world, myself, and thee:
    I linked my lot irrevocably with thine--
    And I have loved thee deeply--long and dearly--
    Even as I love thee still--but these late crosses,
    And most of all the last,--have maddened me;
    And I am wild and wayward as in youth,
    Ere I beheld thee--

    _Josepha_.          Would thou never hadst!
    Since I have been a blight upon thy hope,                          100
    And marred alike the present and the future.

    _Werner_. Yet say not so--for all that I have known
    Of true and calm content--of love--of peace--
    Has been with thee and from thee: wert thou not,
    I were a lonely and self-loathing thing.
    Ulric has left us! all, save thou, have left me!
    Father and son--Fortune--Fame--Power--Ambition--
    The ties of being--the high soul of man--
    All save the long remorse--the consciousness,
    The curse of living on, regretting life                            110
    Mispent in miserably gazing upward,
    While others soared--Away, I'll think no more.

    _Josepha_. But Ulric--wherefore didst thou let him leave
    His home and us? tis now three weary years.

    _Werner_ (_interrupting her quickly_).
    Since my hard father, half-relenting, sent
    The offer of a scanty stipend which
    I needs must earn by rendering up my son--
    Fool that I was--I thought this quick compliance,
    And never more assuming in myself
    The haught name of my house would soften him--                     120
    And for our child secure the heritage
    Forfeit in me forever. Since that hour,
    Till the last year, the wretched pittance came--
    Then ceased with every tidings of my son
    And Sire--till late I heard the last had ceased
    To live--and unforgiving died--Oh God!

    _Josepha_. Was it for this our Ulric left us so?
    Thou dids't deceive me then--he went not forth
    To join the legions of Count Tilly's war?

    _Werner_. I know not--he had left my father's castle,              130
    Some months before his death--but why?--but why?
    Left it as I did ere his birth, perchance,
    Like me an outcast. Old age had not made
    My father meeker--and my son, Alas!
    Too much his Sire resembled----

    _Josepha_.                     Yet there's comfort.
    Restrain thy wandering Spirit--Ulric cannot
    Have left his native land--thou dost not know,
    Though it looks strangely, thy Sire and he
    In anger parted--Hope is left us still.

    _Werner_. The best hope that I ever held in youth,                 140
    When every pulse was life, each thought a joy,
    (Yet not irrationally sanguine, since
    My birth bespoke high thoughts,) hath lured and left me.
    I will not be a dreamer in mine age--
    The hunter of a shadow--let _boys hope_:
    Of Hope I now know nothing but the name--
    And that's a sound which jars upon my heart.
    I've wearied thee--Good night--my patient Love!

    _Josepha_. I must not leave thee thus--my husband--friend--
    My heart is rent in twain for thee--I scarce                       150
    Dare greet thee as I would, lest that my love
    Should seem officious and ill timed:--'tis early--
    Yet rest were as a healing balm to thee--
    Then once again--Good night!

    _Voice Without_.             What Ho--lights ho!

                                SCENE II.

    _Josepha_. What noise is that? 'tis nearer--hush! they knock.
                         [_A knocking heard at the gate_--WERNER _starts_.

    _Werner_ (_aside_). It may be that the bloodhounds of the villain,
    Who long has tracked me, have approached at last:
    I'll not be taken tamely.

    _Josepha_.                'Twas the voice,
    The single voice of some lone traveller.
    I'll to the door.

    _Werner_.         No--stay thou here--again!
                                     [_Knocking repeated. Opens the door_.
    Well--Sir--your pleasure?

                       _Enter_ CARL _the Bavarian_.

    _Carl_.                   Thanks most worthy Sir!
    My pleasure, for to-night, depends on yours--
    I'm weary, wet, and wayworn--without shelter,
    Unless you please to grant it.

    _Josepha_.                    You shall have it,                    10
    Such as this ruinous mansion may afford:
    Tis spacious, but too cold and crazy now
    For Hospitality's more cordial welcome:
    But as it is 'tis yours.

    _Werner_ (_to his wife_).   Why say ye so?
    At once such hearty greeting to a stranger?
    At such a lonely hour, too--

    _Josepha_ (_in reply to Werner_). Nay--he's honest.
    There is trust-worthiness in his blunt looks.

    _Werner_ (_to Josepha_).
    "Trustworthiness in looks!" I'll trust no looks!
    I look into men's faces for their age,
    Not for their actions--had he Adam's brow,                          20
    Open and goodly as before the fall,
    I've lived too long to trust the frankest aspect.
    (_To Carl_) Whence come you Sir?

    _Carl_.                         From Frankfort, on my way
    To my own country--I've a companion too--
    He tarries now behind:--an hour ago,
    On reaching that same river on your frontier,
    We found it swoln by storms--a stranger's carriage,
    Despite the current, drawn by sturdy mules,
    Essayed to pass, and nearly reached the middle
    Of that which was the _ford_ in gentler weather,                    30
    When down came driver, carriage, mules, and all--
    You may suppose the worthy Lord within
    Fared ill enough:--worse still he might have suffered,
    But that my comrade and myself rushed in,
    And with main strength and some good luck beside,
    Dislodged and saved him: he'll be here anon.
    His equipage by this time is at Dresden--
    I left it floating that way.

    _Werner_.                   Where is he?

    _Carl_. Hitherward on his way, even like myself--
    We saw the light and made for the nearest shelter:                  40
    You'll not deny us for a single night?
    You've room enough, methinks--and this vast ruin
    Will not be worse for three more guests.

    _Werner_.                               Two more:
    And thou?--well--be it so--(_aside_) (tonight will soon
    Be overpast: they shall not stay tomorrow)--
    Know you the name of him you saved?

    _Carl_.                             Not I!
    I think I heard him called a Baron Something--
    But was too chill to stay and hear his titles:
    You know they are sometimes tedious in the reckoning,
    If counted over by the noble wearer.                                50
    Has't any wine? I'm wet, stung to the marrow--
    My comrade waited to escort the Baron:
    They will be here, anon--they, too, want cheering:
    I'll taste for them, if it please you, courteous host!

    _Josepha_. Such as our vintage is shall give you welcome:
    I'll bring you some anon.                                 [_goes out_.

    _Carl_ (_looking round_). A goodly mansion!
    And has been nobly tenanted, I doubt not.
    This worn magnificence some day has shone
    On light hearts and long revels--those torn banners
    Have waved o'er courtly guests--and yon huge lamp                   60
    High blazed through many a midnight--I could wish
    My lot had led me here in those gay times!
    Your days, my host, must pass but heavily.
    Are you the vassal of these antient chiefs,
    Whose heir wastes elsewhere their fast melting hoards,
    And placed to keep their cobwebs company?

    _Werner_ (_who has been absorbed in thought till the latter
    part of his speech_). A Vassal!--I a vassal!--_who_ accosts me
    With such familiar question?--(_checks himself and says
    aside_)--Down startled pride!
    Have not long years of wretchedness yet quenched thee,
    And, suffering evil, wilt thou start at scorn?                      70
    (_To Carl_.) Sir! if I boast no birth--and, as you see,
    My state bespeaks none--still, no being breathes
    Who calls me slave or servant.--Like yourself
    I am a stranger here--a lonely guest--
    But, for a time, on sufferance. On my way,
    From--a far distant city--Sickness seized,
    And long detained me in the neighbouring hamlet.
    The Intendant of the owner of this castle,
    Then uninhabited, with kind intent,
    Permitted me to wait returning health                               80
    Within these walls--more sheltered than the cot
    Of humble peasants.

    _Carl_.             Worthy Sir, your mercy!
    I meant not to offend you--plain of speech,
    And blunt in apprehension, I do judge
    Men's station from their seeming--but themselves
    From acts alone. You bid me share your shelter,
    And I am bound to you; and had you been
    The lowliest vassal had not thanked you less,
    Than I do now, believing you his better,
    Perhaps my own superior--

    _Werner_.                 What imports it?                          90
    What--who I am--or whence--you are welcome--sit--
    You shall have cheer anon. (_walks disturbedly aside_)

    _Carl_ (_to himself_). Here's a strange fellow!
    Wild, churlish, angry--_why_, I know not, seek not.
    Would that the wine were come! my doublet's wet,
    But my throat dry as Summer's drought in desarts.
    Ah--here it sparkles!

       _Enter_ JOSEPHA _with wine in flask--and a cup. As she pours
         it out a Voice is heard without calling at a distance_.
             WERNER _starts_--JOSEPHA _listens tremulously_.

    _Werner_.            That voice--that voice--Hark!
    No--no--tis silent--Sir--I say--that voice--
    Whose is it--speak--

    _Carl_ (_drinking unconcernedly_).
                        Whose is it? faith, I know not--
    And, yet, 'tis my companion's: he's like you,
    And does not care to tell his name and station.                    100
                                            [_The voice again and nearer_.

    _Josepha_. 'Tis his--I knew it--Ulric!--Ulric!--Ulric!
                                     [_She drops the wine and rushes out_.

    _Carl_. The flask's unhurt--but every drop is spilt.
    Confound the voice! I say--would he were dumb!
    And faith! to me, he has been nearly so--
    A silent and unsocial travelling mate.

    _Werner_ (_stands in agitation gazing towards the door_).
    If it be he--I cannot move to meet him.
    Yes--it must be so--there is no such voice
    That so could sound and shake me: he is here,
    And I am--

                           _Enter_ STRALENHEIM.

    _Werner_ (_turns and sees him_). A curse upon thee, stranger!
    Where dids't thou learn a tone so like my boy's?                   110
    Thou mock bird of my hopes--a curse upon thee!
    Out! Out! I say. Thou shalt not harbour here.

    _Stralenheim_. What means the peasant? knows he unto whom
    He dares address this language?

    _Carl_.                         Noble Sir!
    Pray heed him not--he's Phrenzy's next door neighbour,
    And full of these strange starts and causeless jarrings.

    _Werner_. Oh, that long wished for voice!--I dreamed of it--
    And then it did elude me--then--and now.

         _Enter_ ULRIC _and_ JOSEPHA. WERNER _falls on his neck_.

    Oh God! forgive, for thou dids't not forget me.
    Although I murmured--tis--it is my Son!                            120

    _Josepha_. Aye, 'tis dear Ulric--yet, methinks, he's changed, too:
    His cheek is tanned, his frame more firmly knit!
    That scar, too, dearest Ulric--I do fear me--
    Thou hast been battling with these heretics,
    And that's a Swedish token on thy brow.

    _Ulric_. My heart is glad with yours--we meet like those
    Who never would have parted:--of the past
    You shall know more anon--but, here's a guest
    That asks a gentle welcome. Noble Baron,
    My father's silence looks discourtesy:                             130
    Yet must I plead his pardon--'tis his love
    Of a long truant that has rapt him, thus,
    From hospitable greeting--you'll be seated--
    And, Father, we will sup like famished hunters.

                         JOSEPHA _goes out here_.

    _Stralenheim_. I have much need of rest: no more refreshment!
    Were all my people housed within the hamlet,
    Or can they follow?

    _Ulric_.           Not to night I fear.
    They staid in hope the damaged Cabriole
    Might, with the dawn of day, have such repairs,
    As circumstance admits of.

    _Carl_.                    Nay--that's hopeless.                   140
    They must not only mend but draw it too.
    The mules are drowned--a murrain on them both!
    One kicked me as I would have helped him on.

    _Stralenheim_. It is most irksome to me--this delay.
    I was for Prague on business of great moment.

    _Werner_. For Prague--Sir--Say you?--

    _Stralenheim_.                        Yes, my host! for Prague.
    And these vile floods and villainous cross roads
    Steal my time from it's uses--but--my people?
    Where do they shelter?

    _Ulric_.               In the boatman's shed,
    Near to the ferry: you mistook the ford--                          150
    Tis higher to the right:--their entertainment
    Will be but rough--but 'tis a single night,
    And they had best be guardians of the baggage.
    The shed will hold the weather from their sleep,
    The woodfire warm them--and, for beds, a cloak
    Is swansdown to a seasoned traveller:
    It has been mine for many a moon, and may
    Tonight, for aught it recks me.

    _Stralenheim_.                  And tomorrow
    I must be on my journey--and betimes.
    It is not more than three days travel, hence,                      160
    To Mansfeldt Castle.

    _Werner and Ulric_. Mansfeldt Castle!--

    _Stralenheim_.                           Aye!
    For thither tends my progress--so, betimes,
    Mine host I would be stirring--think of that!
    And let me find my couch of rest at present.

    _Werner_. You shall Sir--but--to Mansfeldt!--
                          [ULRIC _stops his father and says aside to him_,
    Whate'er it be that shakes you thus--_tread down_--
    (_To Stralenheim_) My father, Sir, was born not far from Prague,
    And knows it's environs--and, when he hears,
    The name endeared to him by native thoughts,
    He would ask of it, and it's habitants--                           170
    You will excuse his plain blunt mode of question.

    _Stralenheim_. Indeed, perchance, then, he may aid my search.
    Pray, know you aught of one named Werner? who
    (But he no doubt has passed through many names),
    Lived long in Hamburgh--and has thence been traced
    Into Silesia--and not far from hence--
    But there we lost him; he who can disclose
    Aught of him, or his hiding-place, will find
    Advantage in revealing it.

    _Ulric_.                  Why so--Sir?

    _Stralenheim_. There are strong reasons to suspect this man        180
    Of crimes against the State--league with Swedes--
    And other evil acts of moment:--he
    Who shall deliver him, bound hand and foot,
    Will benefit his country and himself:
    I will reward him doubly too.

    _Ulric_.                      You know him?

    _Stralenheim_. He never met my eyes--but Circumstance
    Has led me to near knowledge of the man.
    He is a villain--and an enemy
    To all men--most to me! If earth contain him,
    He shall be found and fettered: I have hopes,                      190
    By traces which tomorrow will unravel,
    A fresh clue to his lurking spot is nigh.

    _Carl_. And, if I find it, I will break the thread.
    What, all the world against one luckless wight!
    And he a fugitive--I would I knew him!

    _Ulric_. You'd help him to escape--is it not so?

    _Carl_. I would, indeed!

    _Ulric_.                 The greater greenhorn you!
    I would secure him--nay--I will do so.

    _Stralenheim_. If it be so--my gratitude for aid,
    And rescue of my life from the wild waters,                        200
    Will double in it's strength and it's requital.
    Your father, too, perhaps can help our search?

    _Werner_. _I_ turn a spy--no--not for _Mansfeldt Castle_,
    And all the broad domain it frowns upon.

    _Stralenheim_. Mansfeldt again!--you know it then? perchance,
    You also know the story of it's lords?

    _Werner_. Whate'er I know, there is no bribe of thine
    Can swerve me to the crooked path thou pointest.
    The chamber's ready, which your rest demands.

    _Stralenheim_ (_aside_).
    'Tis strange--this peasant's tone is wondrous high,                210
    His air imperious--and his eye shines out
    As wont to look command with a quick glance--
    His garb befits him not--why, he may be
    The man I look for! now, I look again,
    There is the very lip--short curling lip--
    And the oerjutting eye-brow dark and large,
    And the peculiar wild variety
    Of feature, even unto the Viper's eye,
    Of that detested race, and it's descendant
    Who stands alone between me and a power,                           220
    Which Princes gaze at with unquiet eyes!
    This is no peasant--but, whate'er he be,
    Tomorrow shall secure him and unfold.

    _Ulric_. It will not please you, Sir, then to remain
    With us beyond tomorrow?

    _Stralenheim_. Nay--I do not say so--there is no haste.
    And now I think again--I'll tarry here--
    Perhaps until the floods abate--we'll see--
    In the mean time--to my chamber--so--Good Night!
                                                      [_Exit with_ WERNER.

    _Werner_. This way, Sir.

    _Carl_. And I to mine: pray, where are we to rest?                 230
    We'll sup within--

    _Ulric_.          What matter where--there's room.

    _Carl_. I would fain see my way through this vast ruin;
    Come take the lamp, and we'll explore together.

    _Josepha_ (_meeting them_). And I will with my son.

    _Ulric_.                          Nay--stay--dear mother!
    These chilly damps and the cold rush of winds
    Fling a rough paleness o'er thy delicate cheek--
    And thou seem'st lovely in thy sickliness
    Of most transparent beauty:--but it grieves me.
    Nay! tarry here by the blaze of the bright hearth:--
    I will return anon--and we have much                               240
    To listen and impart. Come, Carl, we'll find
    Some gorgeous canopy, and, thence, unroost
    It's present bedfellows the bats--and thou
    Shalt slumber underneath a velvet cloud
    That mantles o'er the couch of some dead Countess.
                                                 [_Exit_ CARL _and_ ULRIC.

    _Josepha_ (_sola_). It was my joy to see him--nothing more
    I should have said--which sent my gush of blood
    Back on my full heart with a dancing tide:
    It was my weary hope's unthought fulfilment,
    My agony of mother-feelings curdled                                250
    At once in gathered rapture--which did change
    My cheek into the hue of fainting Nature.
    I should have answered thus--and yet I could not:
    For though 'twas true--it was not all the truth.
    I have much suffered in the thought of Werner's
    Late deep distemperature of mind and fortunes,
    Which since have almost driven him into phrenzy:--
    And though that I would soothe, not share, such passions,
    And show not how they shake me:--when alone,
    I feel them prey upon me by reflection,                            260
    And want the very solace I bestowed;
    And which, it seems, I cannot give and have.
    Ulric must be my comforter--his father's
    Hath long been the most melancholy soul
    That ever hovered o'er the verge of Madness:
    And, better, had he leapt into it's gulph:
    Though to the Mad thoughts are realities,
    Yet they can play with sorrow--and live on.
    But with the mind of consciousness and care
    The body wears to ruin, and the struggle,                          270
    However long, is deadly----He is lost,
    And all around him tasteless:--in his mirth
    His very laughter moves me oft to tears,
    And I have turned to hide them--for, in him,
    As Sunshine glittering o'er unburied bones----
    Soft--he is here.----

    _Werner_.            Josepha--where is Ulric?

    _Josepha_. Gone with the other stranger to gaze o'er
    These shattered corridors, and spread themselves
    A pillow with their mantles, in the least ruinous:
    I must replenish the diminished hearth                             280
    In the inner chamber--the repast is ready,
    And Ulric will be here again.--

                       THE DEFORMED TRANSFORMED:

                                 A DRAMA.


The date of the original MS. of _The Deformed Transformed_ is "Pisa,
1822." There is nothing to show in what month it was written, but it may
be conjectured that it was begun and finished within the period which
elapsed between the death of Allegra, April 20, and the death of
Shelley, July 8, 1822. According to Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p.
227), an unfavourable criticism of Shelley's ("It is a bad imitation of
_Faust_"), together with a discovery that "two entire lines" of

    "And water shall see thee,
    And fear thee, and flee thee"--

were imbedded in one of his "Songs," touched Byron so deeply that he
"threw the poem into the fire," and concealed the existence of a second
copy for more than two years. It is a fact that Byron's correspondence
does not contain the remotest allusion to _The Deformed Transformed_;
but, with regard to the plagiarism from Southey, in the play as written
in 1822 there is neither Song nor Incantation which could have contained
two lines from _The Curse of Kehama_.

As a dramatist, Byron's function, or _metier_, was twofold. In
_Manfred_, in _Cain_, in _Heaven and Earth_, he is concerned with the
analysis and evolution of metaphysical or ethical notions; in _Marino
Faliero_, in _Sardanapalus_, and _The Two Foscari_, he set himself "to
dramatize striking passages of history;" in _The Deformed Transformed_
he sought to combine the solution of a metaphysical puzzle or problem,
the relation of personality to individuality, with the scenic rendering
of a striking historical episode, the Sack of Rome in 1527.

In the note or advertisement prefixed to the drama, Byron acknowledges
that "the production" is founded partly on the story of a forgotten
novel, _The Three Brothers_, and partly on "the _Faust_ of the great

Arnaud, or Julian, the hero of _The Three Brothers_ (by Joshua
Pickersgill, jun., 4 vols., 1803), "sells his soul to the Devil, and
becomes an arch-fiend in order to avenge himself for the taunts of
strangers on the deformity of his person" (see _Gent. Mag._, November,
1804, vol. 74, p. 1047; and _post_, pp. 473-479). The idea of an escape
from natural bonds or disabilities by supernatural means and at the
price of the soul or will, the _un_-Christlike surrender to the tempter,
which is the _grund-stoff_ of the Faust-legend, was brought home to
Byron, in the first instance, not by Goethe, or Calderon, or Marlowe,
but by Joshua Pickersgill. A fellow-feeling lent an intimate and
peculiar interest to the theme. He had suffered all his life from a
painful and inconvenient defect, which his proud and sensitive spirit
had magnified into a deformity. He had been stung to the quick by his
mother's taunts and his sweetheart's ridicule, by the jeers of the base
and thoughtless, by slanderous and brutal paragraphs in newspapers. He
could not forget that he was lame. If his enemies had but possessed the
wit, they might have given him "the sobriquet of _Le Diable Boiteux_"
(letter to Moore, April 2, 1823, _Letters_, 1901, vi. 179). It was no
wonder that so poignant, so persistent a calamity should be "reproduced
in his poetry" (_Life_, p. 13), or that his passionate impatience of
such a "thorn in the flesh" should picture to itself a mysterious and
unhallowed miracle of healing. It is true, as Moore says (_Life_, pp.
45, 306), that "the trifling deformity of his foot" was the embittering
circumstance of his life, that it "haunted him like a curse;" but it by
no means follows that he seriously regarded his physical peculiarity as
a stamp of the Divine reprobation, that "he was possessed by an _idee
fixe_ that every blessing would be 'turned into a curse' to him" (letter
of Lady Byron to H. C. Robinson, _Diary, etc._, 1869, in. 435, 436). No
doubt he indulged himself in morbid fancies, played with the
extravagances of a restless imagination, and wedded them to verse; but
his intellect, "brooding like the day, a master o'er a slave," kept
guard. He would never have pleaded on his own behalf that the tyranny of
an _idee fixe_, a delusion that he was predestined to evil, was an
excuse for his shortcomings or his sins.

Byron's very considerable obligations to _The Three Brothers_ might have
escaped notice, but the resemblance between his "Stranger," or "Caesar,"
and the Mephistopheles of "the great Goethe" was open and palpable.

If Medwin may be trusted (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 210), Byron had read
"_Faust_ in a sorry French translation," and it is probable that
Shelley's inspired rendering of "May-day Night," which was published in
_The Liberal_ (No. i., October 14, 1822, pp. 123-137), had been read to
him, and had attracted his attention. _The Deformed Transformed_ is "a
_Faustish_ kind of drama;" and Goethe, who maintained that Byron's play
as a whole was "no imitation," but "new and original, close, genuine,
and spirited," could not fail to perceive that "his devil was suggested
by my Mephistopheles" (_Conversations_, 1874, p. 174). The tempter who
cannot resist the temptation of sneering at his own wiles, who mocks for
mocking's sake, is not Byron's creation, but Goethe's. Lucifer talked
_at_ the clergy, if he did not "talk like a clergyman;" but the "bitter
hunchback," even when he is _solus_, sneers as the river wanders, "at
his own sweet will." He is not a doctor, but a spirit of unbelief!

The second part of _The Deformed Transformed_ represents, in three
scenes, the Siege and Sack of Rome in 1527. Byron had read Robertson's
_Charles the Fifth_ (ed. 1798, ii. 313-329) in his boyhood (_Life_, p.
47), but it is on record that he had studied, more or less closely, the
narratives of contemporary authorities. A note to _The Prophecy of
Dante_ (_Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 258) refers to the _Sacco di Roma_,
descritto da Luigi Guicciardini, and the _Ragguaglio Storico ... sacco
di Roma dell' anno_ MDXXVII. of Jacopo Buonaparte; and it is evident
that he was familiar with Cellini's story of the marvellous gests and
exploits _quorum maxima pars fuit_, which were wrought at "the walls by
the Campo Santo," or on the ramparts of the Castle of San Angelo.

The Sack of Rome was a great national calamity, and it was something
more: it was a profanation and a sacrilege. The literature which it
evoked was a cry of anguish, a prophetic burden of despair. "Chants
populaires," writes M. Emile Gebhart (_De l'Italie_, "Le Sac de Rome en
1527," 1876, pp. 267, _sq._), "_Nouvelles_ de Giraldi Cintio, en forme
de Decameron ... recits historiques ... de Cesar Grollier, _Dialogues_
anonymes ... poesies de Pasquin, toute une litterature se developpa sur
ce theme douloureux.... Le _Lamento di Roma_, [oe]uvre etrange,
d'inspiration gibeline, rappelle les esperances politiques exprimees
jadis par Dante ... 'Bien que Cesar m'ait depouillee de liberte, nous
avons toujours ete d'accord dans une meme volonte. Je ne me lamenterais
pas si lui regnait; mais je crois qu'il est ressuscite, ou qu'il
ressuscitera veritablement, car souvent un Ange m'a annonce qu'un Cesar
viendrait me delivrer.'... Enfin, voici une chanson francaise que
repetaient en repassant les monts les soldats du Marquis de Saluces:--

    "Parlons de la deffaiete
    De ces pouvres Rommains,
    Aussi de la complainete
    De notre pere saint.

    "'O noble roy de France,
    Regarde en pitie
    L'Eglise en ballance ...
    Pour Dieu! ne tarde plus,
    C'est ta mere, ta substance;
    O fils, n'en faictz reffus.'"

"Le dernier monument," adds M. Gebhart, in a footnote, "de cette
litterature, est le singulier drame de Byron, _The Deformed
Transformed_, dont Jules Cesar est le heros, et le Sac de Rome le

It is unlikely that Byron, who read everything he could lay his hands
upon, and spared no trouble to master his "period," had not, either at
first or second hand, acquainted himself with specimens of this popular
literature. (For _La Presa e Lamento di Roma_, _Romae Lamentatio_, etc.,
see _Lamenti Storici dei Secoli xiv., xv_. (Medin e Fratri), _Scelta di
Curiosita_, etc., 235, 236, 237, Bologna, 1890, vol. iii. See, too, for
"Chanson sur la Mort du Connetable de Bourbon," _Recueil de Chants
historiques francais_, par A. J. V. Le Roux de Lincy, 1842, ii. 99.)

_The Deformed Transformed_ was published by John Hunt, February 20,
1824. A third edition appeared February 23, 1824.

It was reviewed, unfavourably, in the _London Magazine_, March, 1824,
vol. 9, pp. 315-321; the _Scots Magazine_, March, 1824, N.S. vol. xiv.
pp. 353-356; and in the _Monthly Review_, March, 1824, Enlarged Series,
103, pp. 321, 324. One reviewer, however (_London Magazine_), had the
candour to admit that "Lord Byron may write below himself, but he can
never write below us!"

For the unfinished third part, _vide post_, pp. 532-534.


This production is founded partly on the story of a novel called "The
Three Brothers[201]," published many years ago, from which M. G. Lewis's
"Wood Demon"[202] was also taken; and partly on the "Faust" of the great
Goethe. The present publication[203] contains the two first Parts only,
and the opening chorus of the third. The rest may perhaps appear hereafter.

                             DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

                      Stranger, _afterwards_ Caesar







                     _Spirits, Soldiers, Citizens of Rome,
                     Priests, Peasants, etc._

                      THE DEFORMED TRANSFORMED:[cv]

                                 PART I.

                          SCENE I.--_A Forest_.

                 _Enter_ ARNOLD _and his mother_ BERTHA.

    _Bert._ Out, Hunchback!

    _Arn._                 I was born so, Mother![204]

    _Bert._                                       Out,
    Thou incubus! Thou nightmare! Of seven sons,
    The sole abortion!

    _Arn._              Would that I had been so,
    And never seen the light!

    _Bert._                  I would so, too!
    But as thou _hast_--hence, hence--and do thy best!
    That back of thine may bear its burthen; 'tis
    More high, if not so broad as that of others.

    _Arn._ It _bears_ its burthen;--but, my heart! Will it
    Sustain that which you lay upon it, Mother?
    I love, or, at the least, I loved you: nothing                      10
    Save You, in nature, can love aught like me.
    You nursed me--do not kill me!

    _Bert._                      Yes--I nursed thee,
    Because thou wert my first-born, and I knew not
    If there would be another unlike thee,
    That monstrous sport of Nature. But get hence,
    And gather wood![205]

    _Arn._           I will: but when I bring it,
    Speak to me kindly. Though my brothers are
    So beautiful and lusty, and as free
    As the free chase they follow, do not spurn me:
    Our milk has been the same.

    _Bert._                    As is the hedgehog's,                    20
    Which sucks at midnight from the wholesome dam
    Of the young bull, until the milkmaid finds
    The nipple, next day, sore, and udder dry.
    Call not thy brothers brethren! Call me not
    Mother; for if I brought thee forth, it was
    As foolish hens at times hatch vipers, by
    Sitting upon strange eggs. Out, urchin, out!
                                                           [_Exit_ BERTHA.

    _Arn._ (_solus_). Oh, mother!--She is gone, and I must do
    Her bidding;--wearily but willingly
    I would fulfil it, could I only hope                                30
    A kind word in return. What shall I do?

                                [_ARNOLD begins to cut wood: in doing this
                                     he wounds one of his hands_.

    My labour for the day is over now.
    Accursed be this blood that flows so fast;
    For double curses will be my meed now
    At home--What home? I have no home, no kin,
    No kind--not made like other creatures, or
    To share their sports or pleasures. Must I bleed, too,
    Like them? Oh, that each drop which falls to earth
    Would rise a snake to sting them, as they have stung me!
    Or that the Devil, to whom they liken me,                           40
    Would aid his likeness! If I must partake[206]
    His form, why not his power? Is it because
    I have not his will too? For one kind word
    From her who bore me would still reconcile me
    Even to this hateful aspect. Let me wash
    The wound.

                             [ARNOLD _goes to a spring, and stoops to wash
                                     his hand: he starts back_.

    They are right; and Nature's mirror shows me,
    What she hath made me. I will not look on it
    Again, and scarce dare think on't. Hideous wretch
    That I am! The very waters mock me with                             50
    My horrid shadow--like a demon placed
    Deep in the fountain to scare back the cattle
    From drinking therein.                                   [_He pauses_.
                           And shall I live on,
    A burden to the earth, myself, and shame
    Unto what brought me into life? Thou blood,
    Which flowest so freely from a scratch, let me
    Try if thou wilt not, in a fuller stream,
    Pour forth my woes for ever with thyself
    On earth, to which I will restore, at once,
    This hateful compound of her atoms, and                             60
    Resolve back to her elements, and take
    The shape of any reptile save myself,
    And make a world for myriads of new worms!
    This knife! now let me prove if it will sever
    This withered slip of Nature's nightshade--my
    Vile form--from the creation, as it hath
    The green bough from the forest.

                             [ARNOLD _places the knife in the ground, with
                                    the point upwards_.

                                    Now 'tis set,
    And I can fall upon it. Yet one glance
    On the fair day, which sees no foul thing like
    Myself, and the sweet sun which warmed me, but                      70
    In vain. The birds--how joyously they sing!
    So let them, for I would not be lamented:
    But let their merriest notes be Arnold's knell;
    The fallen leaves my monument; the murmur
    Of the near fountain my sole elegy.
    Now, knife, stand firmly, as I fain would fall!

                           [_As he rushes to throw himself upon the knife,
                               his eye is suddenly caught by the fountain,
                               which seems in motion_.

    The fountain moves without a wind: but shall
    The ripple of a spring change my resolve?
    No. Yet it moves again! The waters stir,
    Not as with air, but by some subterrane                             80
    And rocking Power of the internal world.
    What's here? A mist! No more?--

                       [_A cloud comes from the fountain. He stands gazing
                             upon it: it is dispelled, and a tall black
                             man comes towards him_.[207]

    _Arn._                           What would you? Speak!
    Spirit or man?

    _Stran._       As man is both, why not
    Say both in one?

    _Arn._          Your form is man's, and yet
    You may be devil.

    _Stran._         So many men are that
    Which is so called or thought, that you may add me
    To which you please, without much wrong to either.
    But come: you wish to kill yourself;--pursue
    Your purpose.

    _Arn._       You have interrupted me.

    _Stran._ What is that resolution which can e'er                     90
    Be interrupted? If I be the devil
    You deem, a single moment would have made you
    Mine, and for ever, by your suicide;
    And yet my coming saves you.

    _Arn._                       I said not
    You _were_ the Demon, but that your approach
    Was like one.

    _Stran._      Unless you keep company
    With him (and you seem scarce used to such high
    Society) you can't tell how he approaches;
    And for his aspect, look upon the fountain,
    And then on me, and judge which of us twain                        100
    Looks likest what the boors believe to be
    Their cloven-footed terror.

    _Arn._                      Do you--dare _you_
    To taunt me with my born deformity?

    _Stran._ Were I to taunt a buffalo with this
    Cloven foot of thine, or the swift dromedary
    With thy Sublime of Humps, the animals
    Would revel in the compliment. And yet
    Both beings are more swift, more strong, more mighty
    In action and endurance than thyself,
    And all the fierce and fair of the same kind                       110
    With thee. Thy form is natural: 'twas only
    Nature's mistaken largess to bestow
    The gifts which are of others upon man.

    _Arn._ Give me the strength then of the buffalo's foot,[cw]
    When he spurns high the dust, beholding his
    Near enemy; or let me have the long
    And patient swiftness of the desert-ship,
    The helmless dromedary!--and I'll bear[cx]
    Thy fiendish sarcasm with a saintly patience.

    _Stran._ I will.

    _Arn._ (_with surprise_). Thou _canst?_

    _Stran._                          Perhaps. Would you aught else?   120

    _Arn._ Thou mockest me.

    _Stran._                Not I. Why should I mock
    What all are mocking? That's poor sport, methinks.
    To talk to thee in human language (for
    Thou canst not yet speak mine), the forester
    Hunts not the wretched coney, but the boar,
    Or wolf, or lion--leaving paltry game
    To petty burghers, who leave once a year
    Their walls, to fill their household cauldrons with
    Such scullion prey. The meanest gibe at thee,--
    Now _I_ can mock the mightiest.[cy]

    _Arn._                           Then waste not                    130
    Thy time on me: I seek thee not.

    _Stran._                         Your thoughts
    Are not far from me. Do not send me back:
    I'm not so easily recalled to do
    Good service.

    _Arn._        What wilt thou do for me?

    _Stran._                               Change
    Shapes with you, if you will, since yours so irks you;
    Or form you to your wish in any shape.

    _Arn._ Oh! then you are indeed the Demon, for
    Nought else would wittingly wear mine.

    _Stran._                               I'll show thee
    The brightest which the world e'er bore, and give thee
    Thy choice.

    _Arn._       On what condition?

    _Stran._                       There's a question!                 140
    An hour ago you would have given your soul
    To look like other men, and now you pause
    To wear the form of heroes.

    _Arn._                     No; I will not.
    I must not compromise my soul.

    _Stran._                       What soul,
    Worth naming so, would dwell in such a carcase?

    _Arn._ 'Tis an aspiring one, whate'er the tenement
    In which it is mislodged. But name your compact:
    Must it be signed in blood?

    _Stran._                   Not in your own.

    _Arn._ Whose blood then?

    _Stran._                 We will talk of that hereafter.
    But I'll be moderate with you, for I see                           150
    Great things within you. You shall have no bond
    But your own will, no contract save your deeds.
    Are you content?

    _Arn._           I take thee at thy word.

    _Stran._   Now then!--
             [_The Stranger approaches the fountain, and turns to_ ARNOLD.

                          A little of your blood.[208]

    _Arn._                                        For what?

    _Stran._ To mingle with the magic of the waters,
    And make the charm effective.

    _Arn._ (_holding out his wounded arm_). Take it all.

    _Stran._ Not now. A few drops will suffice for this.

                      [_The Stranger takes some of_ ARNOLD'S _blood in his
                             hand, and casts it into the fountain_.

    Shadows of Beauty!
      Shadows of Power!
    Rise to your duty--                                                160
      This is the hour!
    Walk lovely and pliant[cz]
      From the depth of this fountain,
    As the cloud-shapen giant
      Bestrides the Hartz Mountain.[209]
    Come as ye were,
      That our eyes may behold
    The model in air
      Of the form I will mould,
    Bright as the Iris                                                 170
      When ether is spanned;--
    Such _his_ desire is,                           [_Pointing to_ ARNOLD.
      Such _my_ command![da]
    Demons heroic--
      Demons who wore
    The form of the Stoic
      Or sophist of yore--
    Or the shape of each victor--
      From Macedon's boy,
    To each high Roman's picture,                                      180
      Who breathed to destroy--
    Shadows of Beauty!
      Shadows of Power!
    Up to your duty--
      This is the hour!

                        [_Various phantoms arise from the waters, and pass
                            in succession before the Stranger and_ ARNOLD.

    _Arn._ What do I see?

    _Stran._              The black-eyed Roman,[210] with
    The eagle's beak between those eyes which ne'er
    Beheld a conqueror, or looked along
    The land he made not Rome's, while Rome became
    His, and all theirs who heired his very name.                      190

    _Arn._ The phantom's bald; _my_ quest is beauty. Could I
    Inherit but his fame with his defects!

    _Stran._ His brow was girt with laurels more than hairs.[211]
    You see his aspect--choose it, or reject.
    I can but promise you his form; his fame
    Must be long sought and fought for.

    _Arn._                              I will fight, too,
    But not as a mock Caesar. Let him pass:
    His aspect may be fair, but suits me not.

    _Stran._ Then you are far more difficult to please
    Than Cato's sister, or than Brutus's mother,                       200
    Or Cleopatra at sixteen[212]--an age
    When love is not less in the eye than heart.
    But be it so! Shadow, pass on!
                                [_The phantom of Julius Caesar disappears_.

    _Arn._                          And can it
    Be, that the man who shook the earth is gone,[db]
    And left no footstep?

    _Stran._             There you err. His substance
    Left graves enough, and woes enough, and fame
    More than enough to track his memory;
    But for his shadow--'tis no more than yours,
    Except a little longer and less crooked
    I' the sun. Behold another!                [_A second phantom passes_.

    _Arn._                     Who is he?                              210

    _Stran._ He was the fairest and the bravest of
    Athenians.[213] Look upon him well.

    _Arn._                             He is
    More lovely than the last. How beautiful!

    _Stran._ Such was the curled son of Clinias;--wouldst thou
    Invest thee with his form?

    _Arn._                     Would that I had
    Been born with it! But since I may choose further,
    I will _look_ further.          [_The shade of Alcibiades disappears_.

    _Stran._              Lo! behold again!

    _Arn._ What! that low, swarthy, short-nosed, round-eyed satyr,
    With the wide nostrils and Silenus' aspect,
    The splay feet and low stature![214] I had better                  220
    Remain that which I am.

    _Stran._               And yet he was
    The earth's perfection of all mental beauty,
    And personification of all virtue.
    But you reject him?

    _Arn._             If his form could bring me
    That which redeemed it--no.

    _Stran._                     I have no power
    To promise that; but you may try, and find it
    Easier in such a form--or in your own.

    _Arn._ No. I was not born for philosophy,
    Though I have that about me which has need on't.
    Let him fleet on.

    _Stran._          Be air, thou Hemlock-drinker!                    230
                      [_The shadow of Socrates disappears: another rises_.

    _Arn._ What's here? whose broad brow and whose curly beard
    And manly aspect look like Hercules,[215]
    Save that his jocund eye hath more of Bacchus
    Than the sad purger of the infernal world,
    Leaning dejected on his club of conquest,[216]
    As if he knew the worthlessness of those
    For whom he had fought.

    _Stran._                It was the man who lost
    The ancient world for love.

    _Arn._                      I cannot blame him,
    Since I have risked my soul because I find not
    That which he exchanged the earth for.

    _Stran._                              Since so far                 240
    You seem congenial, will you wear his features?

    _Arn._ No. As you leave me choice, I am difficult.
    If but to see the heroes I should ne'er
    Have seen else, on this side of the dim shore,
    Whence they float back before us.

    _Stran._                         Hence, Triumvir,
    Thy Cleopatra's waiting.
                         [_The shade of Antony disappears: another rises_.

    _Arn._                  Who is this?
    Who truly looketh like a demigod,
    Blooming and bright, with golden hair, and stature,
    If not more high than mortal, yet immortal
    In all that nameless bearing of his limbs,                         250
    Which he wears as the Sun his rays--a something
    Which shines from him, and yet is but the flashing
    Emanation of a thing more glorious still.
    Was _he e'er human only?_[217]

    _Stran._                   Let the earth speak,
    If there be atoms of him left, or even
    Of the more solid gold that formed his urn.

    _Arn._ Who was this glory of mankind?

    _Stran._                              The shame
    Of Greece in peace, her thunderbolt in war--
    Demetrius the Macedonian, and
    Taker of cities.

    _Arn._           Yet one shadow more.                              260

    _Stran._ (_addressing the shadow_). Get thee to Lamia's lap!
            [_The shade of Demetrius Poliorcetes vanishes: another rises_.
                                      I'll fit you still,
    Fear not, my Hunchback: if the shadows of
    That which existed please not your nice taste,
    I'll animate the ideal marble, till
    Your soul be reconciled to her new garment

    _Arn._ Content! I will fix here.

    _Stran._                         I must commend
    Your choice. The godlike son of the sea-goddess,
    The unshorn boy of Peleus, with his locks
    As beautiful and clear as the amber waves
    Of rich Pactolus, rolled o'er sands of gold,                       270
    Softened by intervening crystal, and
    Rippled like flowing waters by the wind,
    All vowed to Sperchius[218] as they were--behold them!
    And _him_--as he stood by Polixena,
    With sanctioned and with softened love, before
    The altar, gazing on his Trojan bride,
    With some remorse within for Hector slain
    And Priam weeping, mingled with deep passion
    For the sweet downcast virgin, whose young hand
    Trembled in _his_ who slew her brother. So                         280
    He stood i' the temple! Look upon him as
    Greece looked her last upon her best, the instant
    Ere Paris' arrow flew.

    _Arn._                I gaze upon him
    As if I were his soul, whose form shall soon
    Envelope mine.

    _Stran._       You have done well. The greatest
    Deformity should only barter with
    The extremest beauty--if the proverb's true
    Of mortals, that Extremes meet.

    _Arn._                          Come! Be quick!
    I am impatient.

    _Stran._        As a youthful beauty
    Before her glass. _You both_ see what is not,                      290
    But dream it is what must be.

    _Arn._                        Must I wait?

    _Stran._ No; that were a pity. But a word or two:
    His stature is twelve cubits; would you so far
    Outstep these times, and be a Titan? Or
    (To talk canonically) wax a son
    Of Anak?

    _Arn._ Why not?

    _Stran._        Glorious ambition!
    I love thee most in dwarfs! A mortal of
    Philistine stature would have gladly pared
    His own Goliath down to a slight David:
    But thou, my manikin, wouldst soar a show                          300
    Rather than hero. Thou shalt be indulged,
    If such be thy desire; and, yet, by being
    A little less removed from present men
    In figure, thou canst sway them more; for all
    Would rise against thee now, as if to hunt
    A new-found Mammoth; and their cursed engines,
    Their culverins, and so forth, would find way
    Through our friend's armour there, with greater ease
    Than the Adulterer's arrow through his heel
    Which Thetis had forgotten to baptize                              310
    In Styx.

    _Arn._  Then let it be as thou deem'st best.

    _Stran._ Thou shalt be beauteous as the thing thou seest,
    And strong as what it was, and----

    _Arn._                           I ask not
    For Valour, since Deformity is daring.[219]
    It is its essence to o'ertake mankind
    By heart and soul, and make itself the equal--
    Aye, the superior of the rest. There is
    A spur in its halt movements, to become
    All that the others cannot, in such things
    As still are free to both, to compensate                           320
    For stepdame Nature's avarice at first.
    They woo with fearless deeds the smiles of fortune,
    And oft, like Timour the lame Tartar,[220] win them.

    _Stran._ Well spoken! And thou doubtless wilt remain
    Formed as thou art. I may dismiss the mould
    Of shadow, which must turn to flesh, to incase
    This daring soul, which could achieve no less
    Without it.

    _Arn._      Had no power presented me
    The possibility of change, I would
    Have done the best which spirit may to make                        330
    Its way with all Deformity's dull, deadly,
    Discouraging weight upon me, like a mountain,
    In feeling, on my heart as on my shoulders--
    A hateful and unsightly molehill to
    The eyes of happier men. I would have looked
    On Beauty in that sex which is the type
    Of all we know or dream of beautiful,
    Beyond the world they brighten, with a sigh--
    Not of love, but despair; nor sought to win,
    Though to a heart all love, what could not love me                 340
    In turn, because of this vile crooked clog,
    Which makes me lonely. Nay, I could have borne
    It all, had not my mother spurned me from her.
    The she-bear licks her cubs into a sort
    Of shape;--my Dam beheld my shape was hopeless.
    Had she exposed me, like the Spartan, ere
    I knew the passionate part of life, I had
    Been a clod of the valley,--happier nothing
    Than what I am. But even thus--the lowest,
    Ugliest, and meanest of mankind--what courage                      350
    And perseverance could have done, perchance
    Had made me something--as it has made heroes
    Of the same mould as mine. You lately saw me
    Master of my own life, and quick to quit it;
    And he who is so is the master of
    Whatever dreads to die.

    _Stran._               Decide between
    What you have been, or will be.

    _Arn._                         I have done so.
    You have opened brighter prospects to my eyes,
    And sweeter to my heart. As I am now,
    I might be feared--admired--respected--loved                       360
    Of all save those next to me, of whom I
    Would be beloved. As thou showest me
    A choice of forms, I take the one I view.
    Haste! haste!

    _Stran._      And what shall _I_ wear?

    _Arn._                                 Surely, he
    Who can command all forms will choose the highest,
    Something superior even to that which was
    Pelides now before us. Perhaps _his_
    Who slew him, that of Paris: or--still higher--
    The Poet's God, clothed in such limbs as are
    Themselves a poetry.

    _Stran._            Less will content me;                          370
    For I, too, love a change.

    _Arn._                    Your aspect is
    Dusky, but not uncomely.[221]

    _Stran._                  If I chose,
    I might be whiter; but I have a _penchant_
    For black--it is so honest, and, besides,
    Can neither blush with shame nor pale with fear;
    But I have worn it long enough of late,
    And now I'll take your figure.

    _Arn._                         Mine!

    _Stran._                            Yes. You
    Shall change with Thetis' son, and I with Bertha,
    Your mother's offspring. People have their tastes;
    You have yours--I mine.

    _Arn._                  Despatch! despatch!

    _Stran._                                  Even so.                 380

                             [_The Stranger takes some earth and moulds it
                                  along the turf, and then addresses
                                  the phantom of Achilles_.

    Beautiful shadow
      Of Thetis's boy!
    Who sleeps in the meadow
      Whose grass grows o'er Troy:
    From the red earth, like Adam,[222]
      Thy likeness I shape,
    As the Being who made him,
      Whose actions I ape.
    Thou Clay, be all glowing,
      Till the Rose in his cheek                                       390
    Be as fair as, when blowing,
      It wears its first streak!
    Ye Violets, I scatter,
      Now turn into eyes!
    And thou, sunshiny Water,
      Of blood take the guise!
    Let these Hyacinth boughs
      Be his long flowing hair,
    And wave o'er his brows,
      As thou wavest in air!                                           400
    Let his heart be this marble
      I tear from the rock!
    But his voice as the warble
      Of birds on yon oak!
    Let his flesh be the purest
      Of mould, in which grew
    The Lily-root surest,
      And drank the best dew!
    Let his limbs be the lightest
      Which clay can compound,                                         410
    And his aspect the brightest
      On earth to be found!
    Elements, near me,
      Be mingled and stirred,
    Know me, and hear me,
      And leap to my word!
    Sunbeams, awaken
      This earth's animation![dc]
    'Tis done! He hath taken
      His stand in creation!                                           420

                  [ARNOLD _falls senseless; his soul passes into the shape
                         of Achilles, which rises from the ground; while
                         the phantom has disappeared, part by part,
                         as the figure was formed from the earth_.

    _Arn._ (_in his new form_). I love, and I shall be beloved! Oh, life!
    At last I feel thee! Glorious Spirit!

    _Stran._                             Stop!
    What shall become of your abandoned garment,
    Yon hump, and lump, and clod of ugliness,
    Which late you wore, or were?

    _Arn._                       Who cares? Let wolves
    And vultures take it, if they will.

    _Stran._                            And if
    They do, and are not scared by it, you'll say
    It must be peace-time, and no better fare
    Abroad i' the fields.

    _Arn._               Let us but leave it there;
    No matter what becomes on't.

    _Stran._                    That's ungracious;                     430
    If not ungrateful. Whatsoe'er it be,
    It hath sustained your soul full many a day.

    _Arn._ Aye, as the dunghill may conceal a gem
    Which is now set in gold, as jewels should be.

    _Stran._ But if I give another form, it must be
    By fair exchange, not robbery. For they[223]
    Who make men without women's aid have long
    Had patents for the same, and do not love
    Your Interlopers. The Devil may take men,[dd]
    Not make them,--though he reap the benefit                         440
    Of the original workmanship:--and therefore
    Some one must be found to assume the shape
    You have quitted.

    _Arn._            Who would do so?

    _Stran._                         That I know not,
    And therefore I must.

    _Arn._                You!

    _Stran._                  I said it ere
    You inhabited your present dome of beauty.

    _Arn._ True. I forget all things in the new joy
    Of this immortal change.

    _Stran._                In a few moments
    I will be as you were, and you shall see
    Yourself for ever by you, as your shadow.

    _Arn._ I would be spared this.

    _Stran._                       But it cannot be.                   450
    What! shrink already, being what you are,
    From seeing what you were?

    _Arn._                    Do as thou wilt.

    _Stran._ (_to the late form of_ ARNOLD, _extended on the earth_).
          Clay! not dead, but soul-less!
            Though no man would choose thee,
          An Immortal no less
            Deigns not to refuse thee.
          Clay thou art; and unto spirit
          All clay is of equal merit.
          Fire! _without_ which nought can live;
          Fire! but _in_ which nought can live,                        460
            Save the fabled salamander,
            Or immortal souls, which wander,
          Praying what doth not forgive,
          Howling for a drop of water,
              Burning in a quenchless lot:
          Fire! the only element
            Where nor fish, beast, bird, nor worm,
              Save the Worm which dieth not,
            Can preserve a moment's form,
          But must with thyself be blent:                              470
          Fire! man's safeguard and his slaughter:
          Fire! Creation's first-born Daughter,
            And Destruction's threatened Son,
            When Heaven with the world hath done:
          Fire! assist me to renew
          Life in what lies in my view
            Stiff and cold!
          His resurrection rests with me and you!
          One little, marshy spark of flame--[224]
          And he again shall seem the same;                            480
            But I his Spirit's place shall hold!

                        [_An ignis-fatuus flits through the wood and rests
                             on the brow of the body. The Stranger
                             disappears: the body rises_.

    _Arn._ (_in his new form_). Oh! horrible!

    _Stran._ (_in_ ARNOLD'S _late shape_). What! tremblest thou?

    _Arn._                                   Not so--
    I merely shudder. Where is fled the shape
    Thou lately worest?

    _Stran._           To the world of shadows.
    But let us thread the present. Whither wilt thou?

    _Arn._ Must thou be my companion?

    _Stran._                          Wherefore not?
    Your betters keep worse company.

    _Arn._                          _My_ betters!

    _Stran._ Oh! you wax proud, I see, of your new form:
    I'm glad of that. Ungrateful too! That's well;
    You improve apace;--two changes in an instant,                     490
    And you are old in the World's ways already.
    But bear with me: indeed you'll find me useful
    Upon your pilgrimage. But come, pronounce
    Where shall we now be errant?

    _Arn._                       Where the World
    Is thickest, that I may behold it in
    Its workings.

    _Stran._     That's to say, where there is War
    And Woman in activity. Let's see!
    Spain--Italy--the new Atlantic world[225]--
    Afric with all its Moors. In very truth,
    There is small choice: the whole race are just now                 500
    Tugging as usual at each other's hearts.

    _Arn._ I have heard great things of Rome.

    _Stran._                                  A goodly choice--
    And scarce a better to be found on earth,
    Since Sodom was put out. The field is wide too;
    For now the Frank, and Hun, and Spanish scion
    Of the old Vandals, are at play along
    The sunny shores of the World's garden.

    _Arn._                                 How
    Shall we proceed?

    _Stran._         Like gallants, on good coursers.
    What, ho! my chargers! Never yet were better,
    Since Phaeton was upset into the Po[226].                          510
    Our pages too!

             _Enter two Pages, with four coal-black horses_.

    _Arn._          A noble sight!

    _Stran._                      And of
    A nobler breed. Match me in Barbary,
    Or your Kochlini race of Araby[de][227],
    With these!

    _Arn._     The mighty steam, which volumes high
    From their proud nostrils, burns the very air;
    And sparks of flame, like dancing fire-flies wheel
    Around their manes, as common insects swarm
    Round common steeds towards sunset.

    _Stran._                           Mount, my lord:
    They and I are your servitors.

    _Arn._                        And these
    Our dark-eyed pages--what may be their names?                      520

    _Stran._ You shall baptize them.

    _Arn._                           What! in holy water?

    _Stran._ Why not? The deeper sinner, better saint.

    _Arn._ They are beautiful, and cannot, sure, be demons.

    _Stran._ True; the devil's always ugly: and your beauty
    Is never diabolical.

    _Arn._               I'll call him
    Who bears the golden horn, and wears such bright
    And blooming aspect, _Huon_;[228] for he looks
    Like to the lovely boy lost in the forest,
    And never found till now. And for the other
    And darker, and more thoughtful, who smiles not,                   530
    But looks as serious though serene as night,
    He shall be _Memnon_[229], from the Ethiop king
    Whose statue turns a harper once a day.
    And you?

    _Stran._ I have ten thousand names, and twice
    As many attributes; but as I wear
    A human shape, will take a human name.

    _Arn._ More human than the shape (though it was mine once)
    I trust.

    _Stran._ Then call me Caesar.

    _Arn._                       Why, that name
    Belongs to Empire, and has been but borne
    By the World's lords.

    _Stran._             And therefore fittest for                     540
    The Devil in disguise--since so you deem me,
    Unless you call me Pope instead.

    _Arn._                           Well, then,
    Caesar thou shalt be. For myself, my name
    Shall be plain Arnold still.

    _Caes._                      We'll add a title[df]--
    "Count Arnold:" it hath no ungracious sound,
    And will look well upon a billet-doux.

    _Arn._ Or in an order for a battle-field.

    _Caes._ (_sings_).
        To horse! to horse! my coal-black steed
          Paws the ground and snuffs the air!
        There's not a foal of Arab's breed                             550
          More knows whom he must bear;
          On the hill he will not tire,
          Swifter as it waxes higher;
          In the marsh he will not slacken,
          On the plain be overtaken;
          In the wave he will not sink,
          Nor pause at the brook's side to drink;
          In the race he will not pant,
          In the combat he'll not faint;
          On the stones he will not stumble,                           560
          Time nor toil shall make him humble;
          In the stall he will not stiffen,
          But be winged as a Griffin,
          Only flying with his feet:
          And will not such a voyage be sweet?
          Merrily! merrily! never unsound,
          Shall our bonny black horses skim over the ground!
        From the Alps to the Caucasus, ride we, or fly!
        For we'll leave them behind in the glance of an eye.
                                [_They mount their horses, and disappear_.

              SCENE II.--_A Camp before the walls of Rome_.

                           ARNOLD _and_ CAESAR.

    _Caes._ You are well entered now.

    _Arn._                           Aye; but my path
    Has been o'er carcasses: mine eyes are full[dg]
    Of blood.

    _Caes._    Then wipe them, and see clearly. Why!
    Thou art a conqueror; the chosen knight
    And free companion of the gallant Bourbon,
    Late constable of France[230]; and now to be
    Lord of the city which hath been Earth's Lord
    Under its emperors, and--changing sex,
    Not sceptre, an Hermaphrodite of Empire--
    _Lady_ of the old world[231].

    _Arn._                       How _old?_ What! are there             10
    _New_ worlds?

    _Caes._       To _you_. You'll find there are such shortly,
    By its rich harvests, new disease, and gold;
    From one _half_ of the world named a _whole_ new one,
    Because you know no better than the dull
    And dubious notice of your eyes and ears.

    _Arn._ I'll trust them.

    _Caes._                  Do! They will deceive you sweetly,
    And that is better than the bitter truth.

    _Arn._ Dog!

    _Caes._       Man!

    _Arn._            Devil!

    _Caes._                  Your obedient humble servant.

    _Arn._ Say _master_ rather. Thou hast lured me on,
    Through scenes of blood and lust, till I am here.                   20

    _Caes._ And where wouldst thou be?

    _Arn._                           Oh, _at_ peace--_in_ peace!

    _Caes._ And where is that which is so? From the star
    To the winding worm, all life is motion; and
    In life _commotion_ is the extremest point
    Of life. The planet wheels till it becomes
    A comet, and destroying as it sweeps
    The stars, goes out. The poor worm winds its way,
    Living upon the death of other things,
    But still, like them, must live and die, the subject
    Of something which has made it live and die.                        30
    You must obey what all obey, the rule
    Of fixed Necessity: against her edict
    Rebellion prospers not.

    _Arn._                  And when it prospers----

    _Caes._ 'Tis no rebellion.

    _Arn._                     Will it prosper now?

    _Caes._ The Bourbon hath given orders for the assault,
    And by the dawn there will be work.

    _Arn._                              Alas!
    And shall the city yield? I see the giant
    Abode of the true God, and his true saint,
    Saint Peter, rear its dome and cross into
    That sky whence Christ ascended from the cross,                     40
    Which his blood made a badge of glory and
    Of joy (as once of torture unto him),--
    God and God's Son, man's sole and only refuge!

    _Caes._ 'Tis there, and shall be.

    _Arn._                            What?

    _Caes._                                The Crucifix
    Above, and many altar shrines below.
    Also some culverins upon the walls,
    And harquebusses, and what not; besides
    The men who are to kindle them to death
    Of other men.

    _Arn._        And those scarce mortal arches,[232]
    Pile above pile of everlasting wall,                                50
    The theatre where Emperors and their subjects
    (Those subjects _Romans_) stood at gaze upon
    The battles of the monarchs of the wild
    And wood--the lion and his tusky rebels
    Of the then untamed desert, brought to joust
    In the arena--as right well they might,
    When they had left no human foe unconquered--
    Made even the forest pay its tribute of
    Life to their amphitheatre, as well
    As Dacia men to die the eternal death                               60
    For a sole instant's pastime, and "Pass on
    To a new gladiator!"--Must it fall?

    _Caes._ The city, or the amphitheatre?
    The church, or one, or all? for you confound
    Both them and me.

    _Arn._            To-morrow sounds the assault
    With the first cock-crow.

    _Caes._                   Which, if it end with
    The evening's first nightingale, will be
    Something new in the annals of great sieges;
    For men must have their prey after long toil.

    _Arn._ The sun goes down as calmly, and perhaps                     70
    More beautifully, than he did on Rome
    On the day Remus leapt her wall.

    _Caes._                          I saw him.

    _Arn._ You!

    _Caes._      Yes, Sir! You forget I am or was
    Spirit, till I took up with your cast shape,
    And a worse name. I'm Caesar and a hunch-back
    Now. Well! the first of Caesars was a bald-head,
    And loved his laurels better as a wig
    (So history says) than as a glory.[233] Thus
    The world runs on, but we'll be merry still.
    I saw your Romulus (simple as I am)                                 80
    Slay his own twin, quick-born of the same womb,
    Because he leapt a ditch ('twas then no wall,
    Whate'er it now be); and Rome's earliest cement
    Was brother's blood; and if its native blood
    Be spilt till the choked Tiber be as red
    As e'er 'twas yellow, it will never wear
    The deep hue of the Ocean and the Earth,
    Which the great robber sons of fratricide
    Have made their never-ceasing scene of slaughter,
    For ages.

    _Arn._    But what have these done, their far                       90
    Remote descendants, who have lived in peace,
    The peace of Heaven, and in her sunshine of

    _Caes._ And what had _they_ done, whom the old
    Romans o'erswept?--Hark!

    _Arn._                   They are soldiers singing
    A reckless roundelay, upon the eve
    Of many deaths, it may be of their own.

    _Caes._ And why should they not sing as well as swans?
    They are black ones, to be sure.

    _Arn._                          So, you are learned,
    I see, too?

    _Caes._     In my grammar, certes. I
    Was educated for a monk of all times,                              100
    And once I was well versed in the forgotten
    Etruscan letters, and--were I so minded--
    Could make their hieroglyphics plainer than
    Your alphabet.

    _Arn._         And wherefore do you not?

    _Caes._ It answers better to resolve the alphabet
    Back into hieroglyphics. Like your statesman,
    And prophet, pontiff, doctor, alchymist,
    Philosopher, and what not, they have built
    More Babels, without new dispersion, than
    The stammering young ones of the flood's dull ooze,                110
    Who failed and fled each other. Why? why, marry,
    Because no man could understand his neighbour.
    They are wiser now, and will not separate
    For nonsense. Nay, it is their brotherhood,
    Their Shibboleth--their Koran--Talmud--their
    Cabala--their best brick-work, wherewithal
    They build more----

    _Arn._ (_interrupting him_). Oh, thou everlasting sneerer!
    Be silent! How the soldier's rough strain seems
    Softened by distance to a hymn-like cadence!

    _Caes._ Yes. I have heard the angels sing.                          120

    _Arn._ And demons howl.

    _Caes._                 And man, too. Let us listen:
    I love all music.

                     _Song of the Soldiers within_.

                The black bands came over
                  The Alps and their snow;
                With Bourbon, the rover,
                  They passed the broad Po.
                We have beaten all foemen,
                  We have captured a King[234],
                We have turned back on no men,
                  And so let us sing!                                  130
                Here's the Bourbon for ever!
                  Though penniless all,
                We'll have one more endeavour
                  At yonder old wall.
                With the Bourbon we'll gather
                  At day-dawn before
                The gates, and together
                  Or break or climb o'er
                The wall: on the ladder,
                  As mounts each firm foot[dh],                        140
                Our shout shall grow gladder,
                  And Death only be mute[235].
                With the Bourbon we'll mount o'er
                  The walls of old Rome,
                And who then shall count o'er[di]
                  The spoils of each dome?
                Up! up with the Lily!
                  And down with the Keys!
                In old Rome, the seven-hilly,
                  We'll revel at ease.                                 150
                Her streets shall be gory,
                  Her Tiber all red,
                And her temples so hoary
                  Shall clang with our tread.
                Oh, the Bourbon! the Bourbon[236]!
                  The Bourbon for aye!
                Of our song bear the burden!
                  And fire, fire away!
                With Spain for the vanguard,
                  Our varied host comes;                               160
                And next to the Spaniard
                  Beat Germany's drums;
                And Italy's lances
                  Are couched at their mother;
                But our leader from France is,
                  Who warred with his brother.
                Oh, the Bourbon! the Bourbon!
                  Sans country or home,
                We'll follow the Bourbon,
                  To plunder old Rome.                                 170

    _Caes._           An indifferent song
    For those within the walls, methinks, to hear.

    _Arn._ Yes, if they keep to their chorus. But here comes
    The general with his chiefs and men of trust[dj].
    A goodly rebel.

          _Enter the Constable_ BOURBON _"cum suis," etc., etc._

    _Phil._          How now, noble Prince,
    You are not cheerful?

    _Bourb._             Why should I be so?

    _Phil._ Upon the eve of conquest, such as ours,
    Most men would be so.

    _Bourb._               If I were secure!

    _Phil._ Doubt not our soldiers. Were the walls of adamant,
    They'd crack them. Hunger is a sharp artillery.                    180

    _Bourb._ That they will falter is my least of fears.
    That they will be repulsed, with Bourbon for
    Their chief, and all their kindled appetites
    To marshal them on--were those hoary walls
    Mountains, and those who guard them like the gods
    Of the old fables, I would trust my Titans;--
    But now----

    _Phil._    They are but men who war with mortals.

    _Bourb._ True: but those walls have girded in great ages,
    And sent forth mighty spirits. The past earth
    And present phantom of imperious Rome[dk]                          190
    Is peopled with those warriors; and methinks
    They flit along the eternal City's rampart,
    And stretch their glorious, gory, shadowy hands,
    And beckon me away!

    _Phil._            So let them! Wilt thou
    Turn back from shadowy menaces of shadows?

    _Bourb._ They do not menace me. I could have faced,
    Methinks, a Sylla's menace; but they clasp,
    And raise, and wring their dim and deathlike hands,
    And with their thin aspen faces and fixed eyes
    Fascinate mine. Look there!

    _Phil._                    I look upon                             200
    A lofty battlement.

    _Bourb._            And there!

    _Phil._                       Not even
    A guard in sight; they wisely keep below,
    Sheltered by the grey parapet from some
    Stray bullet of our lansquenets, who might
    Practise in the cool twilight.

    _Bourb._                      You are blind.

    _Phil._ If seeing nothing more than may be seen
    Be so.

    _Bourb._ A thousand years have manned the walls
    With all their heroes,--the last Cato[237] stands
    And tears his bowels, rather than survive
    The liberty of that I would enslave.                               210
    And the first Cassar with his triumphs flits
    From battlement to battlement.

    _Phil._                        Then conquer
    The walls for which he conquered and be greater!

    _Bourb._ True: so I will, or perish.

    _Phil._                              You can _not_.
    In such an enterprise to die is rather
    The dawn of an eternal day, than death.
                                   [_Count_ ARNOLD _and_ CAESAR _advance_.

    _Caes._ And the mere men--do they, too, sweat beneath
    The noon of this same ever-scorching glory?

    _Bourb._                                   Ah!
    Welcome the bitter Hunchback! and his master,
    The beauty of our host, and brave as beauteous,                    220
    And generous as lovely. We shall find
    Work for you both ere morning.

    _Caes._                        You will find,
    So please your Highness, no less for yourself.

    _Bourb._ And if I do, there will not be a labourer
    More forward, Hunchback!

    _Caes._                  You may well say so,
    For _you_ have seen that back--as general,
    Placed in the rear in action--but your foes
    Have never seen it.

    _Bourb._           That's a fair retort,
    For I provoked it:--but the Bourbon's breast
    Has been, and ever shall be, far advanced                          230
    In danger's face as yours, were you the _devil_.

    _Caes._ And if I were, I might have saved myself
    The toil of coming here.

    _Phil._                 Why so?

    _Caes._                         One half
    Of your brave bands of their own bold accord
    Will go to him, the other half be sent,
    More swiftly, not less surely.

    _Bourb._                      Arnold, your
    Slight crooked _friend's_ as snake-like in his words
    As his deeds.

    _Caes._        Your Highness much mistakes me.
    The first snake was a flatterer--I am none;
    And for my deeds, I only sting when stung.                         240

    _Bourb._ You are brave, and _that's_ enough for me; and quick
    In speech as sharp in action--and that's more.
    I am not alone the soldier, but the soldiers'

    _Caes._   They are but bad company, your Highness;
    And worse even for their friends than foes, as being
    More permanent acquaintance.

    _Phil._                      How now, fellow!
    Thou waxest insolent, beyond the privilege
    Of a buffoon.

    _Caes._       You mean I speak the truth.
    I'll lie--it is as easy: then you'll praise me
    For calling you a hero.

    _Bourb._               Philibert!                                  250
    Let him alone; he's brave, and ever has
    Been first, with that swart face and mountain shoulder,
    In field or storm, and patient in starvation;
    And for his tongue, the camp is full of licence,
    And the sharp stinging of a lively rogue
    Is, to my mind, far preferable to
    The gross, dull, heavy, gloomy execration
    Of a mere famished sullen grumbling slave,[dl]
    Whom nothing can convince save a full meal,
    And wine, and sleep, and a few Maravedis,                          260
    With which he deems him rich.

    _Caes._                        It would be well
    If the earth's princes asked no more.

    _Bourb._                             Be silent!

    _Caes._ Aye, but not idle. Work yourself with words![dm]
    You have few to speak.

    _Phil._                What means the audacious prater?

    _Caes._ To prate, like other prophets.

    _Bourb._                              Philibert!
    Why will you vex him? Have we not enough
    To think on? Arnold! I will lead the attack

    _Arn._     I have heard as much, my Lord.

    _Bourb._ And you will follow?

    _Arn._                        Since I must not lead.

    _Bourb._ 'Tis necessary for the further daring
    Of our too needy army, that their chief
    Plant the first foot upon the foremost ladder's
    First step.

    _Caes._      Upon its topmost, let us hope:
    So shall he have his full deserts.

    _Bourb._                          The world's
    Great capital perchance is ours to-morrow.[dn]
    Through every change the seven-hilled city hath
    Retained her sway o'er nations, and the Caesars
    But yielded to the Alarics, the Alarics
    Unto the pontiffs. Roman, Goth, or priest.
    Still the world's masters! Civilised, barbarian,
    Or saintly, still the walls of Romulus
    Have been the circus of an Empire. Well!
    'Twas _their_ turn--now 'tis ours; and let us hope
    That we will fight as well, and rule much better.

    _Caes._ No doubt, the camp's the school of civic rights.
    What would you make of Rome?

    _Bourb._                    That which it was.

    _Caes._ In Alaric's time?

    _Bourb._                 No, slave! in the first Caesar's,
    Whose name you bear like other curs----

    _Caes._                             And kings!
    'Tis a great name for blood-hounds.

    _Bourb._                           There's a demon
    In that fierce rattlesnake thy tongue. Wilt never
    Be serious?

    _Caes._      On the eve of battle, no;--
    That were not soldier-like. 'Tis for the general
    To be more pensive: we adventurers
    Must be more cheerful. Wherefore should we think?
    Our tutelar Deity, in a leader's shape,
    Takes care of us. Keep thought aloof from hosts!
    If the knaves take to thinking, you will have
    To crack those walls alone.

    _Bourb._                    You may sneer, since
    'Tis lucky for you that you fight no worse for 't.

    _Caes._ I thank you for the freedom; 'tis the only                  300
    Pay I have taken in your Highness' service.

    _Bourb._ Well, sir, to-morrow you shall pay yourself.
    Look on those towers; they hold my treasury:
    But, Philibert, we'll in to council. Arnold,
    We would request your presence.

    _Arn._                          Prince! my service
    Is yours, as in the field.

    _Bourb._                   In both we prize it,
    And yours will be a post of trust at daybreak.

    _Caes._ And mine?

    _Bourb._         To follow glory with the Bourbon.
    Good night!

    _Arn._ (_to_ CAESAR). Prepare our armour for the assault,
    And wait within my tent.
                              [_Exeunt_ BOURBON, ARNOLD, PHILIBERT, _etc._

    _Caes._ (_solus_).       Within thy tent!                           310
    Think'st thou that I pass from thee with my presence?
    Or that this crooked coffer, which contained
    Thy principle of life, is aught to me
    Except a mask? And these are men, forsooth!
    Heroes and chiefs, the flower of Adam's bastards!
    This is the consequence of giving matter
    The power of thought. It is a stubborn substance,
    And thinks chaotically, as it acts,
    Ever relapsing into its first elements.
    Well! I must play with these poor puppets: 'tis                    320
    The Spirit's pastime in his idler hours.
    When I grow weary of it, I have business
    Amongst the stars, which these poor creatures deem
    Were made for them to look at. 'Twere a jest now
    To bring one down amongst them, and set fire
    Unto their anthill: how the pismires then
    Would scamper o'er the scalding soil, and, ceasing
    From tearing down each other's nests, pipe forth
    One universal orison! ha! ha!                          [_Exit_ CAESAR.

                                 PART II.

            SCENE I.--_Before the walls of Rome.--The Assault:
        the Army in motion, with ladders to scale the walls_;[238]
         BOURBON _with a white scarf over his armour, foremost_.

                     _Chorus of Spirits in the air_.


    'Tis the morn, but dim and dark.[do]
    Whither flies the silent lark?
    Whither shrinks the clouded sun?
    Is the day indeed begun?
    Nature's eye is melancholy
    O'er the city high and holy:
    But without there is a din
    Should arouse the saints within,
    And revive the heroic ashes
    Round which yellow Tiber dashes.                                    10
    Oh, ye seven hills! awaken,
    Ere your very base be shaken!


    Hearken to the steady stamp!
    Mars is in their every tramp!
    Not a step is out of tune,
    As the tides obey the moon!
    On they march, though to self-slaughter,
    Regular as rolling water,
    Whose high-waves o'ersweep the border
    Of huge moles, but keep their order,                                20
    Breaking only rank by rank.
    Hearken to the armour's clank!
    Look down o'er each frowning warrior,
    How he glares upon the barrier:
    Look on each step of each ladder,
    As the stripes that streak an adder.


    Look upon the bristling wall,
    Manned without an interval!
    Round and round, and tier on tier,
    Cannon's black mouth, shining spear,                                30
    Lit match, bell-mouthed Musquetoon,
    Gaping to be murderous soon;
    All the warlike gear of old,
    Mixed with what we now behold,
    In this strife 'twixt old and new,
    Gather like a locusts' crew.
    Shade of Remus! 'tis a time
    Awful as thy brother's crime!
    Christians war against Christ's shrine:--
    Must its lot be like to thine?                                      40


    Near--and near--and nearer still,
    As the Earthquake saps the hill,
    First with trembling, hollow motion,
    Like a scarce awakened ocean,
    Then with stronger shock and louder,
    Till the rocks are crushed to powder,--
    Onward sweeps the rolling host!
    Heroes of the immortal boast!
    Mighty Chiefs! eternal shadows!
    First flowers of the bloody meadows                                 50
    Which encompass Rome, the mother
    Of a people without brother!
    Will you sleep when nations' quarrels
    Plough the root up of your laurels?
    Ye who weep o'er Carthage burning,
    Weep not--_strike_! for Rome is mourning![239]


    Onward sweep the varied nations!
    Famine long hath dealt their rations.
    To the wall, with hate and hunger,
    Numerous as wolves, and stronger,                                   60
    On they sweep. Oh, glorious City!
    Must thou be a theme for pity?
    Fight, like your first sire, each Roman!
    Alaric was a gentle foeman,
    Matched with Bourbon's black banditti!
    Rouse thee, thou eternal City;
    Rouse thee! Rather give the torch
    With thine own hand to thy porch,[dp]
    Than behold such hosts pollute
    Your worst dwelling with their foot.                                70


    Ah! behold yon bleeding spectre!
    Ilion's children find no Hector;
    Priam's offspring loved their brother;
    Rome's great sire forgot his mother,
    When he slew his gallant twin,
    With inexpiable sin.
    See the giant shadow stride
    O'er the ramparts high and wide!
    When the first o'erleapt thy wall,
    Its foundation mourned thy fall.                                    80
    Now, though towering like a Babel,
    Who to stop his steps are able?
    Stalking o'er thy highest dome,
    Remus claims his vengeance, Rome!


    Now they reach thee in their anger:
    Fire and smoke and hellish clangour
    Are around thee, thou world's wonder!
    Death is in thy walls and under.
    Now the meeting steel first clashes,
    Downward then the ladder crashes,                                   90
    With its iron load all gleaming,
    Lying at its foot blaspheming!
    Up again! for every warrior
    Slain, another climbs the barrier.
    Thicker grows the strife: thy ditches
    Europe's mingling gore enriches.
    Rome! although thy wall may perish,
    Such manure thy fields will cherish,
    Making gay the harvest-home;
    But thy hearths, alas! oh, Rome!--                                 100
    Yet be Rome amidst thine anguish,
    Fight as thou wast wont to vanquish!


    Yet once more, ye old Penates!
    Let not your quenched hearts be Ates!
    Yet again, ye shadowy Heroes,
    Yield not to these stranger Neros!
    Though the son who slew his mother
    Shed Rome's blood, he was your brother:
    'Twas the Roman curbed the Roman;--
    Brennus was a baffled foeman.                                      110
    Yet again, ye saints and martyrs,
    Rise! for yours are holier charters!
    Mighty Gods of temples falling,
    Yet in ruin still appalling!
    Mightier Founders of those altars,
    True and Christian,--strike the assaulters!
    Tiber! Tiber! let thy torrent
    Show even Nature's self abhorrent.
    Let each breathing heart dilated
    Turn, as doth the lion baited!                                     120
    Rome be crashed to one wide tomb,
    But be still the Roman's Rome![240]

                 [BOURBON, ARNOLD, CAESAR, _and others, arrive at the foot
                      of the wall_. ARNOLD _is about to plant his ladder_.

    _Bourb._ Hold, Arnold! I am first.

    _Arn._                             Not so, my Lord.

    _Bourb._ Hold, sir, I charge you! Follow! I am proud
    Of such a follower, but will brook no leader.
                        [BOURBON _plants his ladder, and begins to mount_.
    Now, boys! On! on!
                               [_A shot strikes him, and_ BOURBON _falls_.

    _Caes._             And off!

    _Arn._                     Eternal powers!
    The host will be appalled,--but vengeance! vengeance!

    _Bourb._ 'Tis nothing--lend me your hand.

                      [BOURBON _takes_ ARNOLD _by the hand, and rises; but
                            as he puts his foot on the step, falls again_.

                                           Arnold! I am sped.
    Conceal my fall[241]--all will go well--conceal it!
    Fling my cloak o'er what will be dust anon;                        130
    Let not the soldiers see it.

    _Arn._                     You must be
    Removed; the aid of----

    _Bourb._                No, my gallant boy!
    Death is upon me. But what is _one_ life?
    The Bourbon's spirit shall command them still.
    Keep them yet ignorant that I am but clay,
    Till they are conquerors--then do as you may.

    _Caes._ Would not your Highness choose to kiss the cross?
    We have no priest here, but the hilt of sword
    May serve instead:--it did the same for Bayard[242].

    _Bourb._ Thou bitter slave! to name _him_ at this time!            140
    But I deserve it.

    _Arn._ (_to_ CAESAR). Villain, hold your peace!

    _Caes._ What, when a Christian dies? Shall I not offer
    A Christian "Vade in pace[243]?"

    _Arn._                        Silence! Oh!
    Those eyes are glazing which o'erlooked the world,
    And saw no equal.

    _Bourb._          Arnold, shouldst thou see
    France----But hark! hark! the assault grows warmer--Oh!
    For but an hour, a minute more of life,
    To die within the wall! Hence, Arnold, hence!
    You lose time--they will conquer Rome without thee.

    _Arn._ And without _thee_.

    _Bourb._                   Not so; I'll lead them still            150
    In spirit. Cover up my dust, and breathe not
    That I have ceased to breathe. Away! and be

    _Arn._      But I must not leave thee thus.

    _Bourb._ You must--farewell--Up! up! the world is winning.
                                                          [BOURBON _dies_.

    _Caes._ (_to_ ARNOLD). Come, Count, to business.

    _Arn._                      True. I'll weep hereafter.

                           [ARNOLD _covers_ BOURBON'S _body with a mantle,
                                mounts the ladder, crying_

    The Bourbon! Bourbon! On, boys! Rome is ours!

    _Caes._ Good night, Lord Constable! thou wert a Man.

                    [CAESAR _follows_ ARNOLD; _they reach the battlement;_
                        ARNOLD _and_ CAESAR _are struck down_.

    _Caes._ A precious somerset! Is your countship injured?

    _Arn._ No.                                     [_Remounts the ladder_.

    _Caes._ A rare blood-hound, when his own is heated!
    And 'tis no boy's play. Now he strikes them down!                  160
    His hand is on the battlement--he grasps it
    As though it were an altar; now his foot
    Is on it, and----What have we here?--a Roman?
    The first bird of the covey! he has fallen             [_A man falls_.
    On the outside of the nest. Why, how now, fellow?

    _Wounded Man_. A drop of water!

    _Caes._                         Blood's the only liquid
    Nearer than Tiber.

    _Wounded Man_. I have died for Rome.                          [_Dies_.

    _Caes._ And so did Bourbon, in another sense.
    Oh, these immortal men! and their great motives!
    But I must after my young charge. He is                            170
    By this time i' the Forum. Charge! charge!
                            [CAESAR _mounts the ladder; the scene closes_.

        SCENE II.--_The City_.--_Combats between the Besiegers and
       Besieged in the streets_. _Inhabitants flying in confusion_.

                             _Enter_ CAESAR.

    _Caes._ I cannot find my hero; he is mixed
    With the heroic crowd that now pursue
    The fugitives, or battle with the desperate.
    What have we here? A Cardinal or two
    That do not seem in love with martyrdom.
    How the old red-shanks scamper! Could they doff
    Their hose as they have doffed their hats, 'twould be
    A blessing, as a mark[244] the less for plunder.
    But let them fly; the crimson kennels now
    Will not much stain their stockings, since the mire                10
    Is of the self-same purple hue.

     _Enter a Party fighting_--ARNOLD _at the head of the Besiegers_.

                                   He comes,
    Hand in hand with the mild twins--Gore and Glory.[dq]
    Holla! hold, Count!

    _Arn._             Away! they must not rally.

    _Caes._ I tell thee, be not rash; a golden bridge
    Is for a flying enemy. I gave thee
    A form of beauty, and an
    Exemption from some maladies of body,
    But not of mind, which is not mine to give.
    But though I gave the form of Thetis' son,
    I dipped thee not in Styx; and 'gainst a foe                        20
    I would not warrant thy chivalric heart
    More than Pelides' heel; why, then, be cautious,
    And know thyself a mortal still.

    _Arn._                          And who
    With aught of soul would combat if he were
    Invulnerable? That were pretty sport.
    Think'st thou I beat for hares when lions roar?
                                         [ARNOLD _rushes into the combat_.

    _Caes._ A precious sample of humanity!
    Well, his blood's up; and, if a little's shed,
    'Twill serve to curb his fever.

                                [ARNOLD _engages with a Roman, who retires
                                    towards a portico_.

    _Arn._                          Yield thee, slave!
    I promise quarter.

    _Rom._            That's soon said.

    _Arn._                              And done----                     30
    My word is known.

    _Rom._           So shall be my deeds.
                                [_They re-engage_. CAESAR _comes forward_.

    _Caes._ Why, Arnold! hold thine own: thou hast in hand
    A famous artisan, a cunning sculptor;
    Also a dealer in the sword and dagger.
    Not so, my musqueteer; 'twas he who slew
    The Bourbon from the wall.[245]

    _Arn._                     Aye, did he so?
    Then he hath carved his monument.

    _Rom._                           I yet
    May live to carve your better's.

    _Caes._ Well said, my man of marble! Benvenuto,
    Thou hast some practice in both ways; and he                        40
    Who slays Cellini will have worked as hard
    As e'er thou didst upon Carrara's blocks.

                      [ARNOLD _disarms and wounds_ CELLINI, _hit slightly:
                          the latter draws a pistol, and fires; then
                          retires, and disappears through the portico_.

    _Caes._ How farest thou? Thou hast a taste, methinks,
    Of red Bellona's banquet.

    _Arn._ (_staggers_). 'Tis a scratch.
    Lend me thy scarf. He shall not 'scape me thus.

    _Caes._ Where is it?

    _Arn._             In the shoulder, not the sword arm--
    And that's enough. I am thirsty: would I had
    A helm of water!

    _Caes._           That's a liquid now
    In requisition, but by no means easiest
    To come at.

    _Arn._      And my thirst increases;--but                           50
    I'll find a way to quench it.

    _Caes._                       Or be quenched

    _Arn._   The chance is even; we will throw
    The dice thereon. But I lose time in prating;
    Prithee be quick.                        [CAESAR _binds on the scarf_.
                     And what dost thou so idly?
    Why dost not strike?

    _Caes._              Your old philosophers
    Beheld mankind, as mere spectators of
    The Olympic games. When I behold a prize
    Worth wrestling for, I may be found a Milo.[246]

    _Arn._ Aye, 'gainst an oak.

    _Caes._                    A forest, when it suits me:
    I combat with a mass, or not at all.                                60
    Meantime, pursue thy sport as I do mine;
    Which is just now to gaze, since all these labourers
    Will reap my harvest gratis.

    _Arn._                       Thou art still
    A fiend!

    _Caes._   And thou--a man.

    _Arn._ Why, such I fain would show me.[dr]

    _Caes._                                 True--as men are.

    _Arn._ And what is that?

    _Caes._                  Thou feelest and thou see'st.

                        [_Exit_ ARNOLD, _joining in the combat which still
                           continues between detached parties. The
                           scene closes_.

      SCENE III.--_St. Peter's--The interior of the Church--The Pope
         at the Altar--Priests, etc., crowding in confusion, and
            Citizens flying for refuge, pursued by Soldiery_.

                             _Enter_ CAESAR.

    _A Spanish Soldier_. Down with them, comrades, seize upon those lamps!
    Cleave yon bald-pated shaveling to the chine!
    His rosary's of gold!

    _Lutheran Soldier_. Revenge! revenge!
    Plunder hereafter, but for vengeance now--
    Yonder stands Anti-Christ!

    _Caes._ (_interposing_).    How now, schismatic?